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Sycamore tax levy proposal to go to City Council later this month

SYCAMORE – Sycamore city officials are set to vote on the city’s property tax levy, which may mean a slight decrease for some on the city’s portion of their property tax bills, later this month.

Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory said during a Monday virtual City Council meeting that the council previously was supportive of the staff’s recommended tax levy option for a $3,137,913 levy for the 2020 tax year, with a 0.64447% tax rate. The DeKalb County Supervisor of Assessment estimates the city’s equalized assessed value for 2020 will be $486,900,285, which includes $4,600,245 in new construction, according to city documents.

“If someone had a $200,000 home, with it going up in value, we … illustrated in the background what it means and it’s roughly about a 56-cent reduction in the city portion of the property tax bill,” Gregory said.

Gregory said the tax levy ordinance is set to go before the City Council for a second reading and vote during the council’s Dec. 21 meeting.

Gregory has said that recommended option would mean the levy would fund city pensions and everything else stays the same. The increased funding for pension costs will be borne from new construction, Gregory has said.

Gregory said city staff is recommending a property tax freeze for most residents for the library’s tax levy, and the levy would only apply to new construction. He also said the city is looking to abate most city debt.

“So we’re not putting this on the property tax bill,” Gregory said.

Fourth Ward Alderman David Stouffer, who recently was appointed to late 4th Ward Alderman Rick “Spider” Kramer’s seat, commended city officials.

“I’ll just say nice job with keeping that tight and not passing those costs onto the property taxes,” Stouffer said. “So thank you for that.”

No members of the public spoke during the public hearing for the tax levy at the Monday meeting.

Staff previously wrote in city documents that they are “cautiously optimistic” in assessing the strength of the city’s key revenue sources, especially with the financial impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the economy.

The consumer price index for the levy is expected to be 2.3%, according to city documents. That’s about the same as the previous year.

The city’s portion makes up about 7% of the property tax bill, according to city documents. Sycamore School District 427 makes up more than 60% of the bill.

“We’re one small piece of that,” Gregory said. “But I think it’s refreshing news, especially with everything that’s going on that our portion is trending downward, albeit slightly.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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