URBANA — City council members are expected to vote Monday night to increase Urbana's city property tax rate to make up for an unexpected decrease in the city's assessed valuation.
The tax rate increase, from $1.29 per $100 of assessed valuation to $1.32, would generate $7.7 million in revenue for the city, the same amount as the current year.
"The rate will go up slightly," said Mayor Laurel Prussing. "But our rate will still be below Champaign's."
The city of Champaign is levying an amount that will generate a property tax rate of $1.322 per $100 of assessed valuation, according to a memo to council members from Urbana Comptroller Ron Eldridge. Champaign also responded to an estimated decline in its assessed valuation by raising its tax rate, Eldridge said.
Urbana's current tax rate is in the middle of other central Illinois cities, ranging from Normal's $1.15 per $100 rate to Danville's $1.78.
The property tax increase should have no effect on most Urbana homeowners' tax bills, Eldridge said.
"It depends on their individual property," Prussing said. "If your assessment goes down by the same amount that the rate goes up you'll pay the same amount."
Prussing said the reduction in the assessed valuation could become a problem for the city.
"The effect on the budget is that we were expecting an increase," she said. "We have a problem that we thought was going to be solved but it's not being solved. It's still there."
Other tax revenues "are coming back but they're still not where they were in 2007," she said.
And the city will be paying more to its police union under terms of binding arbitration.
"That's kinda hard on cities because we think it should be judged based on what we can afford, rather than what other cities have done," she said. "When it's based on what other cities have done, it's like it is feeding on itself. Your cost never goes down. It only goes up."
Prussing said it's unclear what effect the lower assessed valuation will have on next year's city budget, which is being developed.
"We really don't know yet," she said. "It's going to be a delicate balance, as it was last year."
Also Monday, the council will give final review to he development plan for a 48-condominium planned unit development at 704 E. Windsor Road, the site of the old Windsor Swim Club.
The development, called Verdant Prairies, is by Champaign architect Gary Olsen. It would include up to one single-family residence, three duplexes, four fourplexes and two 12-unit condominiums, as well as a clubhouse and parking for 136 vehicles. The Urbana Plan Commission unanimously recommended approval of the development plan last month, with a waiver allowing the condominium buildings to be up to approximately 42 feet tall.
The city council also is expected to give final approval Monday to an electricity aggregation program that would allow Urbana residents to buy electricity at a discounted rate. Voters approved the move on March 20.