The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

November 2, 2012

Tax levy talks persist in city

Numbers, EAV to be analyzed

BY JENNIFER BAILEY
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — Better than expected equalized assessed valuation numbers in the city could mean fewer budget cuts. Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said Friday the numbers might be better than expected.

City officials were looking at a funding gap of $642,000. This is due to a projected 9 percent decrease in projected equalized assessed valuation on properties for 2012.

Without taking into account the possibility of revenues doing better than expected, the city was looking at $1.5 million in cuts to keep the city’s property tax rate around $2 per $100 of equalized assessed valuation.

“It will mean cuts in personnel and cuts in services, perhaps,” Eisenhauer had said.

Eisenhauer on Friday said the numbers and projected equalized assessed valuation will be analyzed again. City council members will discuss and review the city’s proposed property tax levy Tuesday night.

Vermilion County Supervisor of Assessments Matt Long said Friday that 4.11 percent of the 6 percent loss in equalized assessed valuation last year in the city was due to the state equalization multiplier.

“They got 4 percent back,” Long said about the city and the non-permanent equalization multiplier.

Long said the EAV decrease should now be around “5 percent on top of where they ended last year.”

City comptroller Gayle Lewis was reviewing numbers and information from Long on Friday.

She was being cautious of using a 5 percent equalized assessed valuation decrease instead of the 9 percent estimate in case the 9 percent becomes reality.

Eisenhauer also will provide aldermen with requested information, including what other cities are doing from a numbers perspective with police and fire departments.

Ward 7 Alderman Steve Foster and Ward 5 Alderman Tom Stone also requested more information about the fire department and possibly closing a fire station.

Aldermen also will go into closed session to discuss city department reorganization.

City officials are looking at budget numbers for the next three years.

Eisenhauer said early retirement programs are still being discussed to see their benefits. An Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund program wouldn’t have upfront costs like a voluntary severance program would, he said.

The payback is short, but expensive for an IMRF program, Eisenhauer aid.

“We do not want to add to the pension problem,” he said.

There would be normal cost impact to the pensions with the volunteer severance program.

City staff likely will be surveyed about interest in an early retirement program.

“(We’ll) run the numbers (and see) if it makes sense at the end,” Eisenhauer said.

Also Tuesday, the city council will consider:

The city is responsible for certain maintenance items within the state right-of-way at the conclusion of the project.

Partial city costs, totaling $76,360, would be for traffic signals at the VA and Iowa Street, Danville Area Community College and Indiana Avenue and at Oregon Street; highway signal interconnect; sidewalks; and highway lighting.

The final Main Street section runs from National Avenue, just west of the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System entrance, to Lick Creek, near Kansas Avenue, east of Meade Park.

Construction is expected to start as early as February and be completed in 2013, possibly with any minor work to be finished in 2014.