Belleville residents with a home worth $100,000 can expect to pay an estimated $833 in city property taxes this year, an increase of $45, or 5.7 percent, from last year’s amount of about $788.
Most of the property taxes collected on behalf of the city are used for police and firefighter pension funds and the city’s library fund.
On Monday night, the Belleville City Council will consider the proposed $123.1 million budget, which is comprised of several funds, including $7.18 million for the public safety pension funds and $1.5 million for the library fund.
Even though the overall budget is going down slightly, certain funds within the budget, those that pay for police and firefighter pensions, for example, are going up.
The largest fund in the 2017-18 budget is known as the general fund and is used to pay for most of the day-to-day operations of the city. It is expected to get $28 million and most of the financial support for this fund comes from sales tax and income tax revenue.
I don’t like to pay taxes any more than anybody else. But … if you want improved streets, if you want more cops on the street, if you want sidewalks and curbs around schools and neighborhoods improved, somehow you’ve got to pay for it.
Mayor Mark Eckert
The budget is scheduled to go into effect on May 1. The City Council’s Finance Committee on Monday unanimously recommended that the full council approve the budget. Before the committee voted, a public hearing was convened but no one spoke either for or against the proposed budget.
Mayor Mark Eckert said the state has been consistent with payments to cities in the past few months.
“But there’s a cloud there,” Eckert said. “Not having a state budget is hard for every city in the state of Illinois to put their own budget together.
“I don’t like to pay taxes any more than anybody else,” Eckert said. “But … if you want improved streets, if you want more cops on the street, if you want sidewalks and curbs around schools and neighborhoods improved, somehow you’ve got to pay for it.”
Belleville’s proposed $28 million general fund covers the costs of running the police and fire departments, along most other departments in the city.
The police and fire departments combined are scheduled to get about $16.5 million from the general fund. The police department, with a $9.9 million spending plan, takes up 35 percent of the general fund and the fire department uses $6.6 million, or about 24 percent.
Salaries and benefits take up about 80 percent of the general fund.
Some revenues used to pay for city operations aren’t growing and others are not growing as much as expected, Finance Director Jamie Maitret.
The proposed general fund is essentially flat from the previous one but it includes a 2 percent raise for employees, according to Maitret.
“We’ve done a lot of cutting and trimming wherever possible to make that possible with no growth,” Maitret said.
The general fund typically has a slight increase each year.
The current general fund is projected to finish the fiscal year on April 30 at $27.86 million. The proposed general fund calls for about a one-half percent increase.
In the 2009-10 fiscal year, the general fund was $24.3 million.
“We continue to communicate with our department heads regularly that they know the budget is a tool. It’s our road map for the next fiscal year,” Eckert said.
“But it’s not guaranteed funding,” Maitret added.
“…Just because it’s in the budget, they just can’t go and spend every line because we’re being very cautious,” Eckert said.
The City Council in December approved a 4.67 percent increase in the city’s tax levy, which is the amount of property taxes it is seeking for the fiscal year beginning May 1.
Belleville requested $9.77 million, up from the previous levy of $9.33 million.
The levy calls for $5.6 million of that to go toward the pension funds for police officers and firefighters.
Just because it’s in the budget, they just can’t go and spend every line because we’re being very cautious.
Mayor Mark Eckert
When the council approved the levy in December, Maitret said she could not give an estimate on how much the owner of a $100,000 home would pay in property taxes to the city because she had not yet received St. Clair County’s report on the total assessed value of property in the city.
But Maitret said the city earlier this month received the county’s report stating that Belleville’s equalized assessed valuation, or EAV, grew 2 percent. With that information, she is able to estimate that that owner of a $100,000 home in Belleville would be charged about $833 in city property taxes this summer.
“It won’t be has high since the EAV grew,” Maitret said of the property tax amount for Belleville residents.
The city’s overall budget fluctuates each year based on the number of capital improvement projects. The proposed budget is $123.1 million, down from the current budget of $127.1 million.
These are highlights from the budget:
▪ $15.2 million for sewer work.
▪ $1 million in TIF 3 for City Hall renovations. This is part of the $20.6 million plan to open the new police headquarters at 720 W. Main St. last summer and renovate City Hall. The City Hall project is expected to be finished this summer.
▪ $271,000 in TIF 3 for six police vehicles.
Want to go?
- What: Belleville City Council vote on proposed $123.1 million budget
- When: 7 p.m. Monday
- Where: Lindenwood University-Belleville, 2600 W. Main St.