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Levy timeline considered

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At their May 17 meeting, Village Council members discussed a possible timetable for a renewal or replacement of the Village five-year property tax levy, which will stop generating revenues of $876,000 per year at the end of 2010.

Either a renewal or replacement of the levy seems necessary, according to Village Manager Mark Cundiff, who in a written report projected Village revenues both with and without the levy from 2012 through 2016. Projecting that revenues would remain flat and that expenses would increase by 3 percent a year, the general fund revenue without the levy was projected at $2,178,806 each of those years, and revenues with the levy were projected at $3,055,179 for the same period. Expenses were estimated at $2,774,873 in 2012; $2,858,119 in 2013; $2,943,863 in 2014; $3,032,178 in 2015; and $3,123,144 in 2016.

“We can’t let the levy expire,” Cundiff said at the meeting, “although perhaps we could get by with a little less.”

In the report, Cundiff also emphasized that even with a new levy, the Village will need to find additional funding sources, including grants and increased revenue through business expansion.

The earliest that Council could seek a levy is November 2010, and the spring and fall of 2011 are also possible options, Cundiff said.

Council members, who have in past meetings expressed interest in reducing the levy, requested that Cundiff provide figures regarding the amount of revenues that various levels of reduced levies would raise. Cundiff said he’ll present that information at Council’s second meeting in July.

Given that Council needs more information to decide the levy amount, it seems the November 2010 date is too soon, several Council members said. Karen Wintrow also stated that there should be time for a second vote if the first levy vote fails, which would make the likely levy election date to be spring of 2011.

Council needs to be careful not to compare this levy campaign with either the last Village property tax campaign or the recent school levy campaign, in which the levy passed by a large percentage, Council members said. The school levy campaign committee is a “well-oiled machine,” according to Karen Wintrow, and the Village does not currently have such a committee.

“I don’t want us to be complacent,” she said.

While she also did not advocate complacency, Council President Judith Hempfling stated that the campaign for the current levy, which passed in 2006 by only a single vote, was “controversial,” and that comparing this attempt with that one is also not helpful.

It’s important to bring in citizen input and create a levy campaign committee as soon as possible, Council members stated, indicating a goal of early fall for having a levy committee in place.

In other Council business:

• Council approved the final reading on an ordinance that authorizes the Village manager to make non-pool purchases of electricity from AMP at a set price in future years. The agreement with AMP, the cooperative municipal electricity supplier, is necessary in order for the Village to pay reasonable prices for electricity in the two years between when current electric contracts end and when new ones begin, Cundiff said.

• Council approved the first reading of a resolution that awards a contract of $271,000 to Duro Last for repairs to the Bryan Center roof.

• Council approved expanding to nine, the number of citizens on the new Economic Sustainability Commission. The increase is necessary due to many villagers’ interest in the group, according to Hempfling, who said the names of the new commission members will be announced at the next Council meeting.

ź Council’s next regular meeting will be Monday, June 7, at 7 p.m. in Council chambers.

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