Champaign City Council keeps extended tax rate

By Walbert Castillo

The Champaign City Council voted unanimously on a resolution to preserve the same extended tax rate initiated in 2013 at Tuesday’s meeting.

In 2013, the council passed a property tax rate of $1.32 per $100, which continues throughout 2015.

Taxes will remain the same, even though salaries, pension and the population have risen because the city is bringing in more sales tax from visitors and new members of the community, said Don Gerard, mayor of Champaign.

Andy Quarnstrom, township supervisor of Champaign, said the reason for targeting the same rate as 2013 was because the rates were attainable. Quarnstrom said he hopes additional income will help expand improvements made last year.

Michael LaDue, District 2, said every year the staff looks at the statistics based on the value of different assessments of the properties, which are used to determine how much money the city council is going to tax.

“We try to take a conservative approach to the property tax,” LaDue said. “However, most people don’t like paying it, and we strike a balance between how much we think we’re going to need and how much the public will pay.”

LaDue said the city operates on about 13 percent of revenues, which are collected from property taxes. LaDue said the collective overall value of the city has increased with all of the new construction being initiated and the slight conservative upswing of the economy,

“The growth that you see in comparison to last year’s levy is solely based on Evaluative Assessment Value, so it’s a small level of growth and it’s better than nothing,“ Quarnstrom said.

LaDue called attention to council members at the meeting, asking to consider how some significant services are suffering from the tax rate. He said the Champaign Public Library is seeing a $200,000 deficit each year. The assessment increase from 2013 brought in approximately $55,000, but that is still not enough to cover the library’s overall deficit, according to LaDue.

“This is a shortfall that Champaign must confront in the future,” he said.

Walbert can be reached at [email protected]