Elgin council approves balanced 2022 budget with more money for parks, no property tax rate increase

  • The Elgin City Council approved the 2022 budget during Wednesday's meeting.

      The Elgin City Council approved the 2022 budget during Wednesday's meeting. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted12/16/2021 5:20 AM

The Elgin City Council approved their 2022 budget and three-year financial plan Wednesday with no property tax rate increase, but residents will see cost increases for some fees and services.

"The things that I like about it outweigh the things I don't like," councilman Toby Shaw said of the balanced budget. "I like the fact that we really took parks very seriously.

 

"Parks is not just a department that's off by itself, it's a part of the fabric of our community."

The new budget features money for overdue improvements for parks, part of which will be funded by a new special recreation tax levy and a bond issuance that were given a unanimous thumbs-up by the council. City officials estimate the parks need a total of about $16 million in repairs, with almost half of the city's 46 playgrounds having equipment between 15 and 30 years old.

The special recreation tax levy will cost the owner of a median-priced home, determined to be $248,000 in Elgin, an additional $33 per year, while raising over $1.1 million.

Homeowners will also be paying more for water and garbage pickup in 2022. Water rates will be going up by 3%, though sewer rates are unchanged. Monthly garbage pickup rates will be going up 60 cents, to $19.30 for single family homes. Rates for condos and townhouses will increase from $13.96 to $14.42. The price of prepaid stickers is going up a dime to $3.25.

Most city fees such as permits for building and zoning will stay the same, but some city amenities will cost more.

Fees at the Wing Park Family Aquatic Center will go up for both daily and seasonal admission. Daily tickets go up by $2 for youths and $1 for seniors, to $8 and $7 respectively. Adults prices remain at $8. Season passes will up $30 for youths, $20 for adults and $15 for seniors. Memberships are now $115 annually for youths and adults and $100 for seniors.

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Prices at the Adventure Island Aquatic Center will remain the same, as will other fees at the Edward Schock Centre of Elgin.

The price for a daily round of golf will remain largely unchanged at the city's three courses, but new individual annual memberships at Bowes Creek Country Club will see a 10% price hike to $4,400 per year. Current members won't see any increase, nor will there be increases for membership at Wing Park and the Highlands of Elgin. Some weekday rates have gone up a dollar for a round at the Highlands.

Though he said he was in support of the budget, council member Steve Thoren reiterated concern he expressed in previous meetings about the city's pension obligations.

"I think we all should be concerned about that," he said. "We still have a surplus and I hope that it's used wisely down the road."

Councilman Corey Dixon gave credit to the city staff for their hard work in a challenging time.

"This year, more than any other year, represents not just who we are but where we're headed and what we're becoming as a city," he said.

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