Danville council posts smaller tax levy

DANVILLE - As expected, Danville aldermen decided Tuesday night to put on public display for the next two weeks a proposed property tax levy that would generate about $382,000 less in revenue next year.

City officials expect that option to keep the property tax rate the same as this year, $1.97 per $100 of assessed valuation.

But the decrease in revenue means the city will have to go in search of about that same amount in cuts, including personnel reductions.

Anticipating personnel cuts, aldermen were supposed to discuss at Tuesday night's city council meeting a severance package — free health insurance for a certain amount of time for employees who might lose their jobs in coming months.

But that item was removed from the agenda at the beginning of the meeting.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said it was removed, because the city is also planning to offer an incentive program for employees who might want to voluntarily retire or leave city employment. And, Eisenhauer said, Corporation Counsel David Wesner suggested that rather than having multiple severance and incentive programs for employees, it would be better to have a single program that would be offered to all employees.

"So until we have more time to review that more thoroughly and determine what that program will look like, we took it off the agenda," Eisenhauer said after Tuesday night's meeting.

Eisenhauer said the city council and city administration won't begin talking about what cuts will be made until after the first of the year.

But in two weeks, on Dec. 18, aldermen take a final vote on the proposed property tax levy option that was placed on public display Tuesday night.

According to that proposal, the city would levy $5,986,404, which is $382,188, or 6 percent, less than the $6,368,592 the city levied last year. If the city's EAV decreases the expected 6 percent, then the tax rate will remain at $1.97.

That means, however, that the city will need to pull money out of its general fund to cover costs, like some employee pensions, that it normally pays with property tax revenue. It will use about $1.1 million in general fund revenues, which are generated through other city taxes, like state and local sales tax, the liquor tax and the food and beverage tax.

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