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Sycamore City Council supports maintaining tax levy

New construction will increase total levy while decreasing the rate

Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory (from left) presented the various tax levy options the City Council could choose from as City Attorney Keith Foster and Mayor Curt Lang listened. The council voiced its support for an option that would keep the levy the same while lowering the tax rate.
Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory (from left) presented the various tax levy options the City Council could choose from as City Attorney Keith Foster and Mayor Curt Lang listened. The council voiced its support for an option that would keep the levy the same while lowering the tax rate.

SYCAMORE – It still needs to go through a public hearing, but the city of Sycamore’s portion of residents’ tax bill should remain the same next year. The City Council considered several options at its regular meeting Monday and the consensus among the members was to maintain the levy.

The total levy will still increase a little, however, because of the new income being generated by new construction in the city.

“We’ve seen significant economic development in our community and part of that is how we’ve managed our finances and anticipating the peaks and valleys and positioning ourselves so we don’t have to make large corrections,” City Manager Brian Gregory said.

The proposed levy would be $2,973,858, up $84,964 from 2016 at a rate of 0.70. For the owner of a $200,000 home, the city portion of their tax bill would be $494.15, or 3 cents less than 2016.

The budget for the general operating fund would increase for the first time in seven years from $1.4 million to almost $1.5 million, and there would also be slight increases for contributions to the police and fire pension funds.

Gregory said that property taxes had become a progressively smaller portion of the city revenues for several years, with the focus more on sales tax.

However, he warned that the growth of online shopping could erode that tax base.

It was something 2nd Ward Alderman Pete Paulsen took into consideration when he voiced his support for the plan.

“I’m looking toward the future, too, that, if we start seeing an erosion because of online sales, we may have to make a change, but I think we should at least try and get through this year,” he said.

The public hearing will during the Dec. 4 City Council meeting.

The city also made official a Sycamore Plan Commission rezoning recommendation to rezone the old Marathon gas station at 503 E. State St. The new zoning allows a wider variety of businesses to open in the location.

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