Highland News Leader

Canoes to be allowed on Highland’s Old City Lake

The Highland City Council on Dec. 21 approved allowing non-motorized boats, such as canoes and kayaks, on Old City Lake.

Highland Parks and Recreation Director Mark Rosen said he has had an increased number of requests to use the old city reservoir for paddling recreation.

“It has always been my practice to utilize what we already have, and therefore, with the increased popularity of canoeing/kayaking, I feel it is an appropriate time to amend the ordinance to maximize the use of our natural resources by allowing non-motorized watercraft to use Old City Lake,” Rosen wrote in a memo to council members. “I believe this is a tremendous opportunity for avid canoeists/kayakers and families to use the lake/park.”

Individuals will still have to obtain the proper city sticker, pay fees and abide by all inland waterway regulations imposed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Canoeing and kayaking is already allowed on Silver Lake. However, Rosen said allowing the recreation on the smaller Old City Lake would make it safer for beginners.

“…(I)t would allow a less daunting and safer venue for families with younger children before embarking on Silver Lake,” Rosen wrote in his memo.

Tax Levy Approved

City property taxes are expected to increase slightly in Highland next year.

The City Council on Monday approved a tax levy of just over $3.62 million, up 2.85 percent from this year’s levy of $3.54 million. A tax levy is the amount of money a government entity — in this case, the city — can collect through local property taxes.

The city tax rate is expected to increase 1.81 percent from the current year’s. This year’s tax rate is just over $1.99 per $100 of assessed value. The projected rate for next year is nearly $2.03.

A taxpayer with a home valued at $150,000 will now pay the city about $21 more in property taxes next year.

For only the second time since 2009, the city is expecting an increase in assessed valuation. Highland’s assessed value was about $177.8 million for 2014. This was a .85 percent increase from the previous year’s $176.3 million assessed valuation.

For its estimated levy for next year, Korte said the city is taking a conservative approach, due to local economic conditions, and assuming a 1 percent increase in the assessed valuation from the prior year’s level.