The Brookfield village board on Monday voted unanimously to approve a resolution estimating its 2013 property tax levy for taxes collected during 2014. The resolution estimates an increase in the combined village and public library levy of 3.8 percent, although the final figure will likely be lower due to state tax cap laws.
“Although we’re requesting a 3.8 percent increase, in budgeting for 2014 we’re at 2.5 percent,” said Brookfield Finance Director Doug Cooper during a discussion of the estimated tax levy resolution last month.
In 2012, Brookfield’s tax levy amounted to a little more than $8 million for village operations and almost $2.1 million for the library. The estimated tax levy is asking for a village levy of $8.3 million and a library levy of $2.2 million.
Cooper said the $280,788 estimated increase in property taxes for village operations amounted to a per-household increase of about $14 in 2014.
But Brookfield is likely to receive less than it is requesting since tax cap laws limit non-home rule municipalities such as Brookfield to an annual increase of 5 percent or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is less.
The CPI for 2013, which was set by the Illinois Department of Revenue in January, is just 1.7 percent. The village is asking for more than the CPI to capture tax revenue related to any new development in the village, which is not ruled by tax cap limits.
For example, in 2012 the village estimated its tax levy for the year 2013 at about $8.2 million. It collected barely more than $8 million due to tax cap limitations.
The $8.3 million Brookfield is requesting for village operations is still far short of what it costs to fund those things. Preliminary budget numbers for Brookfield estimate general operating expenditures in 2014 of about $15 million.
The rest of the funding for village operations comes from a variety of sources — things like state and local sales taxes, utility taxes, user fees, fines and permit fees.
According to the proposed levy, more than half, about $4.8 million, will be used to fund police and fire protection. Another $1.5 million will fund general village operations, such as public works.
Finally, the village is proposing to levy approximately $2 million — almost 25 percent of its total tax levy — to fund police and fire pensions.
Even while paying sizeable amounts to its pension funds in recent years, the village’s police pension fund was 45.2 percent funded at the end of 2012. Fire pensions were funded at a 64 percent level at the end of 2012, according to the village’s 2012 financial audit.
Although it is not required to do so since its proposed levy is below 5 percent, the village board will hold a public hearing on Monday, Dec. 9, and then pass the tax levy ordinance at its regular meeting scheduled that evening at 6:30 p.m.