The Riverside Village Board on Dec. 5 will pass its 2013 tax levy request, asking the Cook County Clerk to approve a property tax increase of 3.4 percent to help fund the village operations in 2014.
The village board on Nov. 21 held a public hearing on the tax levy. No members of the public commented on the proposed increase, which will be amended downward by the county clerk because of tax cap laws.
Illinois law permits non-home rule communities, such as Riverside, to extend their tax levies annually by 5 percent or the rate of the consumer price index (CPI), whichever is less. For 2013, the CPI is 1.7 percent.
However, new construction is not governed by tax cap legislation, allowing municipalities to capture a higher percentage for newly improved property for one year. As a result, Riverside is asking for a 3.4-percent increase in order to capture revenue from that new growth.
Even with the new growth, the village expects its final tax levy to fall somewhere between 1.7 and 3.4 percent. As a result, Riverside will receive somewhat less than the roughly $169,000 in additional property tax revenue it would have gotten with a full 3.4 percent increase.
The village’s property tax levy extension is for village-provided services only. Other governmental bodies, such as school districts and county agencies will also levy new taxes.
A look at the village’s levy worksheet indicates just how little of the services the village provides is actually funded through the property tax levy. The shortfall is made up through sales taxes, state shared taxes, utility taxes and charges for services.
In all, Riverside expects to take in about $4.5 million through its share of the property tax levy. The 2014 village budget, on the other hand, projects expenditures of roughly $8.6 million.
The levy will fund less than half of the village police and fire protection services. Each department has been identified to receive $700,000 in property tax revenue to fund operations. The 2014 police budget is $3 million. The fire budget is $1 million.
Almost the same amount, $690,318, is being levied to cover the village’s police pension obligation. The village does not have a fire pension obligation, since it operates a paid-on-call fire department.
Also on Dec. 5, the village will pass the Riverside Public Library tax levy. While the library board sets its own levy it is not considered a separate taxing district. The village, while it doesn’t control what the library levies, must include the library’s tax levy with its own request to the Cook County Clerk.
The library is asking for a 3.3 percent increase over its 2012 levy, or $1,025,758. Last year’s levy brought in $998,232 in local property taxes to the library.
North Riverside to freeze levy again
After toying with a possible increase in its tax levy — which it decided against doing — the North Riverside Village Board won’t even bring up the subject this time around.
Finance Director Sue Scarpiniti confirmed late last month that the North Riverside Village Board will not ask for a tax levy increase in 2013, maintaining a tradition that goes back more than two decades.
Sales taxes are the engine that drives North Riverside’s municipal revenues. Property taxes represent just a fraction of the revenue the village receives to fund its operations.
For the 2012-13 fiscal year, North Riverside spent $14 million on operations. Just $490,000 of that came from local property tax revenues. Sales taxes represent about 80 percent of the village’s operating revenues.
The North Riverside board will vote to maintain its present tax levy at its meeting on Dec. 16.