Belleville

Look for another property tax increase in Belleville next year

To meet the rising costs of the police officer and firefighter pension funds supported by property taxes, Belleville residents can expect to pay more in city property taxes next year. The city is seeking a 12 percent increase in its tax levy, which is the amount of property taxes it hopes to collect for the coming fiscal year.

The exact amount you’ll pay in city property taxes next year has not yet been determined but the increase is estimated to fall in the range of $30 to $80 for the owner of a $100,000 home, according to Jamie Maitret, the city’s finance director.

Belleville uses most of its property tax revenue to pay for the police and fire pensions as well as operate the Belleville Public Library. The property taxes also are used for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, Social Security, tort liability, health insurance and playground equipment.

And in a new twist for the fiscal year that starts May 1, the property tax levy for the defunct Belleville Township will now be requested by the city, which assumed the township’s duties last spring. Maitret said the request for this levy will be the same amount as the previous one. The township tax will now be called the General and Community Assistance program.

None of the city’s property tax revenue is used for the general fund, or the day-to-day budget of running the city. The general fund is supported mainly by sales tax, income tax and utility tax revenue as well as money from fees.

I don’t take lightly recommending a tax increase.

Jamie Maitret, finance director for Belleville

The current property tax levy is about $10.1 million and the requested amount for the fiscal year that starts May 1 is about $11.3 million.

“I don’t take lightly recommending a tax increase,” Maitret said. But she noted that 60 percent of the proposed property tax levy goes to the police and firefighter pension funds and that state law dictates how much the city needs to pay into the funds.

The tax levy request calls for $6.8 million to be assigned to the police and firefighter pension funds, with $3.4 million going to each fund. In the current budget, these two funds each received $2.91 million.

The library is the third largest recipient of property tax revenue and is scheduled to receive $1.28 million, or the same as the current budget.

At 6:30 p.m. Monday, residents can go to City Hall at 101 S. Illinois St. for the City Council’s public hearing regarding the city’s proposed tax levy increase. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the levy request on Dec. 18.

Mayor Mark Eckert said residents often don’t realize that most of the city’s property tax revenue goes toward pensions.

The biggest part of the city’s levy that we do every year is pensions.

Mayor Mark Eckert

“It does not pay for police and fire, it doesn’t pay for sanitation, doesn’t pay to repair any local roads and that’s the biggest misunderstanding of the general public,” he said. “They don’t understand how we’re funding things. The biggest part of the city’s levy that we do every year is pensions.”

As of the last city audit filed in April, there were 86 fire pension recipients and 69 police pension recipients.

In December every year, taxing bodies determine their tax levy, or the amount of property tax money the taxing body believes it needs.

After the New Year, St. Clair County will determine the tax rate, which is the amount per $100 of assessed property value that each property owner will pay. The tax rate is based on the equalized assessed value, or EAV, of all the property in the city and that amount will not be released until early next year by the county.

Belleville’s current equalized assessed value is about $403.3 million and city officials believe this amount will be increased.

Want to go?

A Belleville City Council public hearing on the city’s proposed property tax levy will be Monday night. The city plans to increase its levy about 12 percent.

  • Time: 6:30 p.m.
  • When: Monday, Dec. 11
  • Where: City Hall, 101 S. Illinois St.

Where do your Belleville property taxes go to?

Fund

2016

Proposed for 2017

Firefighters pension

$2,912,427

$3,400,000

Police officers pension

$2,912,427

$3,400,000

Belleville Public Library

$1,285,400

$1,285,000

Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund

$801,119

$730,000

Tort liability

$806,363

$700,000

Social Security

$657,514

$655,000

Health insurance

$330,371

$480,00

Playground

$380,390

$380,000

General and Community Assistance - Assistance *

0

$150,675

General and Community Assistance - General *

0

$113,700

$10,086,011

$11,294,375

* In prior years, these lines were levied by the Belleville Township. The 2016 levy for these funds had $150,675 for assistance and $113,709 for general.

Source: City of Belleville

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