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Champaign Council Gives Initial Backing to 2013 Tax Levy

Champaign City Council members have given their initial endorsement to a 2013 property tax levy that garners the same amount as last year.

But because of decreased property values, the council has recommended a small increase in next year’s tax rate.

In Tuesday night’s study session, council members voted 6 to 3 to levy $19,955,632. If granted final approval in December, homeowners next year would pay a $1.3287 per $100 equalized assessed value.

Council member Michael LaDue calls this a conservative approach.  He says levying a lower amount means a cut in Champaign’s general fund, and less for the city’s public library.

“So if we vote for option 1 (one of four options provided by staff), we're taking money out of the hands of our residents," LaDue said. "If you vote for option 3, you might be taking books out of the hands of your child.  We’ve got needs at the library now that suggest that they need to capitalize to sustain the role in the community they now have.  That people not only take for granted, but speak of constantly and glowingly.”

Council members Deb Frank Feinen, Karen Foster, and Will Kyles voted no, opting for city staff's option 3, a slightly smaller tax rate of $1.3084, which would levy $19,650,900.

Feinen says like the taxpayer, the city needs to make tough decisions.

"If every governing body, and the state of Illinois has got a whole load of them, continues to raise their levies just a little incremental bit, it becomes real dollars," she said.  "And I think we have a responsibility to the taxpayers to not do that."

Mayor Don Gerard says the decision was easy for him, but hopes the state follows suit by fulfilling pensions and other bills, letting the council reduce that levy in near future.

Categories: Business, Economics, Government