St. Clair County Board officials approved the property tax levy for 2018 on Monday night.
The total levy came to $68 million, an increase of about 5 percent over the $64.8 million approved for 2017.
However, the total tax burden won’t be known until the spring, when the county decides on how much taxes to abate, Director of Administration Debra Moore said.
Earlier this year, for example, the county abated $26.9 million of the total levy, resulting in collections of $37.8 million, according to previous reporting.
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▪ In other business, county board members reduced the salary levels and zeroed out health insurance benefits for elected officials and county board members people who draw or have drawn a pension from the county. This reduces “double dipping,” or when someone draws a salary on top of pension benefits.
In 2015, the established salary was $98,776 for the sheriff, treasurer, assessor, county clerk, auditor, circuit clerk, coroner, county board chairman and recorder of deeds, according to the county code of ordinances. Board of review members made $45,992, and county board members earned $20,001.
Starting Jan. 1, those positions will pay less if the person who occupies that job draws or has drawn a pension from the county. Those who made $98,776 will make $21,296. Board of review members and county board members will make $7,579. Then, starting in 2019, all of those positions will pay only $2,000.
▪ The board approved about $1.1 million in funding for improvements to 24 parks, including for the Bicentennial Park event center in Belleville: trail, cameras, and equipment for Jones Park and Lincoln Park in East St. Louis; the Swansea Kingdom Playground; fishing platforms and other items in Smithton Village Park; and fire pit and other improvements for Rock Springs Park in O’Fallon.
Those grants were capped at $50,000 apiece.
Nine other parks projects were also approved for a total of $1.8 million. They included $400,000 to acquire property; $400,000 for a splash pad in Cahokia; $300,000 for the Lincoln Park swimming pool; $250,000 for a splash in Millstadt; and other projects.
▪ The board also decided to update the Master Plan for MidAmerica Airport, putting up almost $20,000 for the first phase of a study to chart the future of the airport. The state will foot about another $20,000, and a federal grant will pick up about $355,000, according to documents provided by the county.
“The Master Plan will define a phased plan for accommodating passenger growth at all aspect at the airport,” an overview of the proposal said.
The update comes on the heels of a 122-percent increase in the number of boarding passengers, according to the county. The Master Plan was most recently updated in 2009.