Champaign council again considers property taxes

CHAMPAIGN — The city council will try again to make a decision on next year's property tax rate after a 4-4 tie vote two weeks ago could not be broken.

They'll vote again Tuesday (Nov. 5, 2013) after their regular meeting at 7 p.m. in the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St. This time, the ninth council member will have a chance to cast his potentially tie-breaking vote.

Because the city's taxable property is expected to drop 0.88 percent, city council members face a choice between raising the property tax rate to collect the same amount of tax revenue they did last year or holding the rate and letting the revenue drop off a bit.

The difference is about $257,000 on the $19,955,632 collected each of the past three years. But as property values have dropped, the rate Champaign homeowners have paid has crept up.

If the city collects the same amount next year, homeowners would pay a rate of $1.3324 per $100 of assessed value — a bit higher than the $1.3152 they paid this year. The difference is about $8.60 on a $150,000 home.

Tuesday's poll is not a final decision, but it will determine which number appears on the next city council agenda for a formal vote.

Based on their Oct. 22 poll, city council members are split on the decision. Council member Will Kyles was not in attendance for the vote two weeks ago, but later said he is leaning toward supporting the lower of the two tax rates. That would put him in with Paul Faraci, Deborah Frank Feinen, Karen Foster and Mayor Don Gerard — the latter three of whom are angling toward a spring 2015 run for mayor.

The city council adopts a tax levy, which is the amount of money it wants to collect, and not a tax rate, which is set by the county clerk. But in the past, city officials have used the projected rate as a guide in selecting a levy.

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Sid Saltfork wrote on November 05, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Will the new tax affect the car dealership that moved, and the new downtown hotel?  Are they safe from this increase unlike the homeowners?