Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- I’m going to make a confession.
When the finance department recommends a tax levy increase, my initial question is, "Are you sure we can afford that?"
I’m not asking for a higher tax levy increase, but, face it, over the past few years, we’ve seen a 2.7% increase, a 3.4% increase, and a 3.1% increase. 2009 is the most recent holdout, with a 6.0% increase.
On Saturday, however, at our six-month financial update, Finance Director Mary Dankowski recommended a 2013 tax levy increase of 1.9%, our lowest increase in 20 years (1993’s increase was 15.1%).
I have learned to trust our Finance Department. Director Mary Dankowski and Assistant Director of Finance Stephanie Rodas. That’s the simple truth.
Now, one-percent means more than it did in 1993. This year, according to the October 12, 2013 Financial Update report, a 1.0% tax levy increase equates to $134,722.
Staff is requesting a 0% tax levy increase for General Corporate expenses (salaries, health insurance, etc.), because $715,317 will be drawn from reserve funds, still leaving the Village of Park Forest with a healthy 3 months plus of reserve funds.
The 1.9% tax levy increase means bonds and interest will be covered; the 1.9% tax levy increase means that pensions will be covered as well. Pension increases have leveled off over the past two years.
School taxes are an entirely different matter. And one that which the Park Forest Village Board has absolutely no control whatsoever.
However, for the next fiscal year, the Park Forest tax levy will rise by only 1.9%, if the proposed levy is passed by the Board in December.
And, honestly, that is the levy increase that, I believe, will likely pass.
Gary Kopycinski is editor and publisher of eNews Park Forest and a village trustee in Park Forest. His reporting is his own. eNews Park Forest, Inc. is an independent media company and is not affiliated with the Village of Park Forest in any way.