“‘Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but Death and Taxes.”
These famous words first written by Christopher Bullock in the early 1700s still hold true today. Taxes are an unpopular yet needed way to help provide services that would otherwise not be funded and delivered. I am just like most people in this great country – I dislike paying property taxes. However, being involved in local government, specifically O’Fallon, gives me a sense of appreciation for what property taxes pay for. I am happy to pay for excellent police, fire, and EMS protection, roads that can be travelled upon, excellent schools, and a great library.
Out of all taxes, the one that I hear the most comments about is property tax. The City of O’Fallon makes every attempt to not heavily rely on property tax. Fortunately, we have a strong commercial base that creates a good amount of sales tax, which helps pay for many of the City’s services.
Property tax comprises only 2.5 percent of the City’s budget and is ranked 10th among the City’s General Fund revenue generators. If you look at your property tax bill, only a small percentage (around 10 percent) goes to the City of O’Fallon.
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Another famous quote, this one from former US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.”
The city of O’Fallon uses property tax to support General Fund programs such as police, street maintenance and construction, and general administrative functions. Property taxes also are levied for Special Revenue Funds such as Parks, Emergency Medical Services, pension obligations, and the O’Fallon Fire Department.
So why am I telling you this? Well, it is because I want to share some good news with you!
The annual Tax Levy must be filed with the county by the last Tuesday in December. The proposed 2018 Tax Levy for the City of O’Fallon, that the O’Fallon City Council will vote on, is .9817. This proposed tax levy rate is lower than last year’s rate of .9837. Which is again lower than the tax rate of 2012!
Remember that the tax levy is based on dollar amount, not by rate; therefore, if the estimated EAV is even higher than projected, the tax levy rate will be lower and vice versa, if the EAV is lower, the tax levy rate will be higher. The County does not provide the final EAV until April, so we have to work on estimates until that time.
Many communities in Illinois and other states are forced to substantially increase their property tax levy year after year. In Illinois specifically, most municipalities are being pinned into a corner by their pension liabilities – forcing them to raise their property taxes. However, in O’Fallon that is not the case. Our pension liabilities are very well-funded, which allows us to not only directly fund essential services through taxes, but in some years, decrease the amount of property tax you pay to the City of O’Fallon!
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!