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Taxes expected to remain flat

Surplus in two funds will help keep tax rate steady next year

Published: Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT

DIXON – Property taxes in 2013 should remain “close to the same” as this year, said the city’s new finance director, Paula Meyer.

The City Council Monday approved a $3.6 million tax levy – 4.6 percent, or $157,278, more than this year.

That levy will decrease, according to consultant Stan Helgerson, because there is a limit to how much of that levy the city actually will take because of the Property Tax Extension Law Limit.

The city asks for more than it expects in case there is unexpected property growth that increases the available pot of tax dollars. The city can take only what it requests, so if it asks for less, it would not be able to collect an unexpected overage.

Although the city has a deficit of about $3.4 million in its general fund and about $16 million in debt overall, thanks mostly to former comptroller Rita Crundwell’s theft of more than $53 million, the council will not have to make up for it with a tax increase because of a surplus in the Illinois Municipal Retirement fund of $4.2 million and Social Security fund of $2.8 million.

The city will not ask for tax dollars for those funds for 2013, and instead will spend existing funds. The money saved will go to the general and police funds.

“Property tax values are estimated to go down, but the rate might increase a little,” Meyer said. “It will all depend on the consumer price index; if that goes up, taxes [for property owners] may go up a little, maybe 1 to 2 percent, if that.”

Assessed value of taxable property is expected to drop about 0.2 percent, or an estimated $175 million.

Spending for police and fire pensions are expected to increase by 10 percent to about $866,000 for both, while liability insurance will increase by 5 percent, to $363,015.

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