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Local Government

Geneva eyes $4.71 million levy request

GENEVA – Geneva aldermen this week unanimously approved the city’s 2013 tax levy request of $4.71 million, a 2 percent increase over last year’s $4.6 million levy request.

The levy is what taxing bodies request that the county collect through property taxes next year, based on how much money officials calculate they need.        

The 2013 taxable equalized assessed valuation is $901 million, a 3.87 percent reduction from $937 million the previous year, officials said.

The EAV reduction reflects a continuing decline in real estate values, officials said.

New construction represents $2.72 million or 0.29 percent of the EAV.

Resident Bob McQuillan, a co-founder of TAXFacts, a taxpayer watchdog group, asked aldermen to approve a zero percent levy.

“This is the fifth year in a row where the EAV has declined,” McQuillan said. “We don’t know when that’s going to end ... we’re probably looking at 2017 before we see an increase in assessed value, in my opinion.” 

McQuillan asked aldermen to consider that the city is one of six taxing bodies – all approving levies for next year’s tax collections.

“You can’t look at yourself in a bubble and say, ‘Well, 50 bucks isn’t bad ... we’re doing a good job,’ ” McQuillan said. “This is the time when we go and give the homeowners a break.”

The levy request includes a 2.76 percent increase in the debt service levy because of an increase of $48,060 in the city’s annual debt payments. The debt service levy is not subject to the state’s tax cap law.

The city’s debt obligation of $1.8 million is based on general obligation bonds issued in 1999, 2006, 2008 and 2012, records show. 

The debt service increases the levy request to 2.21 percent and increases the total request to $6.5 million.

The levy request will cause the city’s tax rate to increase, officials said.

The 2012 rate is 0.678332, including the debt service. The higher rate is estimated to be 0.721197 or 6.32 percent more, officials said.

The estimated tax rate increase would hike the taxes for a house with a fair market value of $250,000 by $35. For a house with a fair market value of $350,000, the increase would be about $50, officials said.

The final levy ordinance will be presented to the committee of the whole on Dec. 9 and final approval is expected at the City Council meeting on Dec. 16.

The actual levy amount might be lowered when the city’s true EAV is known by March.

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