By Bob Balgemann


Back on Oct. 24, the Belvidere Committee of the Whole was talking about whether to exceed the tax cap and approve an increase in the levy for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The reason was a jump in the police pension payment next year of $223,513, and there wasn’t much time in which to decide. Staring aldermen in the face was a Nov. 11 deadline.

Committee members sat as the city council Monday night, Nov. 7, and agreed with the recommendation of Budget and Finance Director Becky Tobin to stay within the tax cap. There will be a slight increase in the levy, of 1.152 percent, which will generate an additional $71,168.

The 2017-18 fiscal year will begin May 1, 2017.

Here is the schedule of actions relative to the new levy: Nov. 7, announce the proposed tax levy for 2017-18, which has been done; Dec. 5. will be the first reading of the levy ordinance along with a public hearing on it; and Dec. 19, second and final reading of the levy ordinance.

The equalized assessed value of Belvidere was on the upswing until the Great Recession of 2008. At that point, the EAV was at $443.600 million. In six successive years, it dropped to $209.237 million.

Now it is slowly recovering, having increased from $285.968 to $290.237, or 1.33 percent. It is estimated to be at $306.212 in 2016.

The requested revenue to fund all city operations is $4.813 million or 1.51 percent up from the current year. The Ida Public Library’s request for operational funds is $686,566, which also is a 1.51 percent increase over the current level.

Tobin said the total funding request would be $5.500 million.

The only question came from Alderman Mark Sanderson, who wanted more details about the effect of the CPI, or consumer price index, which increased by 0.7 percent during that period of time.

Tobin replied that the CPI was just one part of the funding formula.

The motion to accept the recommended tax levy was approved, 8-0, with two absent.

Also Nov. 7, the council voted 8-0 to approve a special use permit to allow outdoor storage of materials at 670 Corporate Pkwy., for a company that will build bumpers for the nearby Chrysler plant.

Height of the surrounding fence was a discussion point raised at the council meeting by Alderman Sanderson.

City Planner Gina DelRose said that had yet to be determined, but she assured that it would be according to code. While the fence won’t totally screen piles of materials being stored on the property, she said landscaping would help do that.

Sanderson wondered about the kind of landscaping.

It would be the type that provided screening year-round, the planner answered.

Alderman Dan Snow asked if any comments had been receiving from neighbors of the property.

DelRose replied that there had been no correspondence or telephone calls from anyone, and that no one attended the meeting during which the request was discussed.

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