At the Dec. 18 City Council meeting, the O’Fallon City Council approved the annual levy for the city of O’Fallon and O’Fallon Public Library with a 4.03 percent decrease, bringing our estimated tax levy rate back down to the same level it was in 2014.
What does this decrease mean for our residents? The amount of property taxes a resident of O’Fallon pays the city and the O’Fallon Library will decrease and residents may experience a savings. Please keep in mind that the city and the library’s portion of a resident’s property tax bill is minor in comparison to the overall amount of property tax collected by other taxing bodies. As such, while residents may experience a savings in the amount paid to the city and library, the rate set by the other taxing bodies will have an impact in determining a resident’s overall tax savings.
There is no one who can deny that property taxes are unpopular. Fortunately, O’Fallon is lucky to have a large sales tax base, which means that the city of O’Fallon does not have to rely on property taxes to fund basic city services, like police, ambulance, and streets. In fact, property tax in O’Fallon pays for only 1 percent of the city’s total budget.
We are also evaluating our internal processes and staffing, and working to create efficiencies in order to keep costs low and still provide high-quality services.
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I owe a great deal of thanks to O’Fallon’s city staff and the City Council for embracing this approach and making this accomplishment possible.
In addition to comparing our costs from year to year to search for improvements and gauge success, we also compare our city to other communities. So, how does O’Fallon compare to some of the other cities in St. Clair County?
Using the average O’Fallon home price of $187,400 (source: Zillow) as a comparison, a taxpayer in St. Clair County pays an average of $1,201 in property tax to the city or village they live in. O’Fallon taxpayers pay $544, approximately 55 percent less than the average.
How does O’Fallon rank in comparison to the largest communities in the area? We used the average O’Fallon home price again to calculate and compare how much property tax each tax payer pays to cities around the area in Illinois (with a population over 20,000) and ranked them from highest to lowest:
▪ East St. Louis: $2,145.48
▪ Alton: $1,622.01
▪ Granite City: $1,599.15
▪ Belleville: $1,362.84
▪ Edwardsville: $771.09
▪ O’Fallon: $544.40
While we decreased our city property tax rate by 4 percent, other communities in the above list have recently announced increases in their tax rates by as much as 10 percent.
Your O’Fallon elected officials understand that property tax is not an endless pot of money and that every one of you, as tax payers, has the right to know where and how your tax dollars are being spent. I encourage you to visit the city of O’Fallon’s Finance Department’s website at ofallon.org/finance-department. On this site, you can view the city’s annual budget, audited financial reports, treasurer’s reports, and warrant reports — which is a list of payments made by the city, and approved by the City Council at every City Council meeting.
As residents of O’Fallon, you should always be able to reach out to your elected officials and ask questions about what is happening in O’Fallon. Having open communications is important to me and something I care very deeply about. Thank you for reading, and please remember, my door is always open.