City council sets cap on property tax levy

By Rich Bruen

The DeKalb City Council nixed the public’s role in the city 1992 property tax levy last night.

In a 4-3 vote, the council elected to set the cap on the 1992 property tax levy increase at 4.99 percent. State law requires any increase above 5 percent involve a public hearing.

“We can always come down (on the tax rate),” said 3rd Ward Alderman Gary Wiggins, during the debate. “Let the public be involved.”

“Everyone is saying the problem with going down to 4.99 is a lack of public input,” said 5th Ward Alderman Bessie Chronopoulos. “I’m going to take the risk. My contingency would want me to go for the lower rate.”

“We should save taxpayers’ money (on running a notice for a public hearing),” said 6th Ward Alderman Jamie Pennington. “We do not need a debate for this. It would be foolish.”

The law states that once a cap is set, the city cannot go over that figure.

Jordan Kagan, 7th ward alderman, said the average tax bill, based on a $99,000 home, for a DeKalb resident in 1991 was $212.88. For 1992, he speculated that the city tax rate would drop 4.8 percent to .6155 but the average tax bill would increase by a maximum of 4.96 percent due to estimated appraised value (EAV) increases. Under this scenario, the same property owner would see their taxes rise to $223.43.

“We won’t know the actual numbers for months though,” he said.

According to Pennington, the property tax levy must pass through the city council with a two-thirds majority vote .

Other items passed at the meeting included the approval of land purchases for a Lucinda Avenue right-of-way project, a Fairview Drive improvement project, the addition of a two-way stop on Oakwood and Elmwood avenues, a parking ordinance for Oakwood Avenue and the discussion of a 50 percent resident-financed curbing of Woodlawn and Lawnwood Avenues.