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Yorkville residents sound off on proposed city tax levy during public hearing

YORKVILLE – Yorkville residents voiced their concerns about a possible increase on the city's portion of their property tax bills during the public hearing for the city's tentative tax levy.

Darren Crawford, who lives in Kylyns Crossing within the city, said property taxes for his house went up by 18.5% last year and his house was assessed more than 4% more than other homes in the subdivision this time around. He said he's concerned about yet another increase and, as commenters before him put it, the city "nickel and diming" residents.

Though he likes the community a lot, Crawford said, he's considering moving out of the city because he's getting taxed out of it.

"This is getting a little out of hand," Crawford said.

Ben Quigley, who recently moved to Yorkville from Montgomery, said he came to Yorkville because it seemed like a good place to bring his children and Oswego School District 308 was having constant financial issues, despite the district consistently increasing their tax levy. He said he personally wanted to know what the city's financial plan is with those additional funds through the proposed levy.

Quigley said there's more room for discussion if the city's intent is to spend their dollars more intelligently. But if the additional tax revenue is going to be mishandled like in Oswego or Montgomery, he said, he'd like to see the matter possibly being put to a vote for city residents.

"Because more money for less value, or to not increase the value of our homes or the value of the community that we live in, just doesn't make a lot of sense," Quigley said.

The update comes after the City Council voted to approve the reported tax levy estimate during their Oct. 22 regular meeting.

City staff is recommending to increase this year's levy by new construction only, as it has done for the past two years, according to city documents. New construction for the equalized assessed value, or EAV, for the county is expected to be $15,847,975 for this year's levy and is anticipated to generate $96,055 of additional property tax proceeds for the city.

If the City Council votes to follow suit in what the city has done for the last couple of years, the city expects to see an increase of about $17 for each homeowner on average. That would happen if the properties' EAV increase by the same percentage as the overall EAV in the city, which is projected to be 8%, according to city documents.

Yorkville Mayor John Purcell said the city is not looking to increase the levy on existing properties and that he would not support taking the consumer price index, or CPI, despite the city not receiving an additional $61,591 as a result. However, he said, he can't promise whether taxes for existing properties will go up or down because those depend on assessed valuations on surrounding properties and levies from other taxing bodies.

Purcell said ideas that have been discussed on the city's end that could be subsidized through additional tax revenues include a possible new public works building, a possible new sidewalks program, police department vehicles and technology equipment, and possible new parks and recreation vehicles and playground updates.

"And it's going to be a multi-year process, but that's something that we're going to work on toward next year's budget," Purcell said.

Yorkville Ward 2 Alderwoman Jackie Milschewski said she also suggests that residents attend the upcoming tax levy meetings for other taxing districts, including the school district, which typically makes up two-thirds to three-quarters of a property owner's tax bill. She said the Yorkville School District 115 tentative tax levy presentation is scheduled for Dec. 16.

"We're just a small little piece of the pie, and they're other entities that are really big," Milschewski said. "I just encourage you to see how they're spending their money, too – your money."

The tentative tax levy is set to go before the City Council for a possible vote during their meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 26 at City Hall, 800 Game Farm Road.

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