SWANSEA — Trustees took an informal vote to raise the portion of property taxes that goes to the village during a public hearing Wednesday regarding the tax levy. However, the increased tax levy will only increase a homeowner's taxes to the village by 1.5 percent, according to village officials.
The village is proposing a total levy of $983,400, said Trustee Susan O'Malley, who leads the Finance Committee. Last year, the village levied a total of $948,861 in property taxes, O'Malley said. A public hearing was required because the aggregate levy is a 7.79 percent increase.
O'Malley said the aggregate levy excludes the debt service levy for the firehouse bond principal payments. The aggregate levy amount is $771,000, which is higher than the aggregate levy last year of $715,274.
The firehouse bond principal payment is $212,400, which makes the total levy $983,400, O'Malley said. The overall tax levy is an increase of 3.64 percent over last year.
The impact of this tax levy increase on a home owner in Swansea is minimal, according to O'Malley.
She estimated the owner of a $250,000 home would pay $271.69 in property taxes to the village next year, which is $3.73 more than last year.
Swansea Fire Chief John McGuire said, speaking as a taxpayer, that he doesn't mind paying a few more dollars in property taxes to the village considering the magnitude of services the village provides to its residents including police and fire protection.
The purpose of the tax levy is to provide operating funds through property taxes for the village's next fiscal year, which runs May 1 to April 30, 2014.
The aggregate levy of $771,000 is expected to be dispersed as follows: $49,000 for general corporate purposes, $50,000 for liability insurance, $12,000 for municipal auditing, $34,000 for police protection, $585,000 for police pension fund and $41,000 for fire pension fund.
O'Malley explained the village has consistently increased its tax levy over the last several years to more accurately fund the village's police and fire pensions. "They were substantially under funded," she said.
For example, the village contributed $290,308 to both its police and fire pensions in 2007 compared to its projected contribution of $626,000 for 2012.
The Village Board is expected to formally vote on the proposed tax levy during one of its board meetings in December. The village's 2012 tax levy is due to St. Clair County by Dec. 25.
Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562.