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Downers Grove

Property taxes, fees expected to increase in Downers Grove next year

DOWNERS GROVE – Downers Grove residents will likely pay higher property taxes and fees next year, according to the village's proposed 2014 budget.

The financial plan outlined for 2014 shows increased spending on streets and sidewalks, among other infrastructure, along with increased payments to police and fire pensions. Resident's property taxes, storm water utilities and water rates would increase.

The village posted the proposed budget, along with Village Manager David Fieldman's budget memo, on its website Friday.

All together, the typical household in a $300,000 home would pay about $74.55 more to the village in 2014, Fieldman's memo stated.

Total 2014 revenues are budgeted at $111 million, and expenses are planned to be about $139 million. Fieldman states in his memo that expenses outpace revenues because the village plans to spend funds from previously-sold bonds on capital infrastructure projects.

The budget also plans the first noticeable increase to the general fund since 2008, when the recession began hurting revenues.

"Over the next few years, in line with the trends discussed in the Long-Range Planning, revenues are anticipated to grow slowly," Fieldman stated.

Proposed general fund expenses for 2014 are about $43.57, an increase of 4.6 percent, or $1.94 million, over the current year's budget. About $1.5 million of that increase is in personnel costs, including an $583,000 increase in police and fire pension costs. Employee wages are budgeted to increase by 2.4 percent, and benefits are budgeted to increase by 3.8 percent.

The village finances pensions through property taxes, which are slated to increase by the $583,000 needed to cover the rising pension costs. The amount of property tax levy funds going towards village operations will stay the same.

The total property tax levy is expected to be about $11.59 million in 2014, compared to about $11 million in 2013, meaning the owner of a $300,000 home would pay about $27.57 more in property taxes to the village.

The village also plans increases for both the storm water fee and the water fee.

The storm water fee would increase by about 10 percent, an increase of about $10 a year for the average residential property.

The water fee would increase about 7.3 percent, or an additional $36.90 a year for the average residence. This is a smaller increase than the village originally predicted, according to Fieldman.

"Due to several factors including efficiencies in the maintenance of the water system, the budget calls for lower-than-planned water rate increases, while still maintaining the appropriate funding for capital improvements, operations and maintenance," Fieldman wrote in his memo.

The budget also plans to move $4.2 million from the 2013 general fund to the risk management fund. The plan expands the uses of the fund to pay for unanticipated costs of emergency and disaster responses. Fieldman's report says that will create a more predictable and stable general fund.

The village anticipates the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, will cost the village an additional $86,000 in healthcare costs in 2014. The village is self-insured.

The budget includes about $20.5 million in investments in streets, sidewalks and water infrastructure.

The village will have its first budget workshop Saturday, and will have the first council meeting reading Tuesday.

A public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 5, and the council plans to vote on the budget Nov. 12. It plans to adopt the tax levy Dec. 17.

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