Increase Anticipated In Fox Lake Tax Rate

(Fox Lake) Property owners in Fox Lake are looking at a spike in their 2019 tax rate. City officials discussed the upcoming budget Wednesday night. The $1.7-million-dollar document was published recently with a tax levy of $1-million-28-thousand dollars ($1,028,000). That would result in a mill rate of $13.14-per one thousand dollars of assessed value, an increase of $3.61. For the owner of a $150-thousand-dollar home, that would result in an increase next year of $542.

In an effort to reduce the tax impact, City Administrator Dean Perlick suggests paying for the proposed $115-thousand dollars in capital projects with money from their reserve fund instead of the levy.

In recent years, the reserve fund was as high as $700-thousand dollars but the closure of a Tax Increment Finance District four years ago has resulted in lean budgets for the past three years. The reserve fund would be drawn down to $133-thousand dollars. Officials say the city will be in much better shape with the 2020 budget as revenues from a new TIF are realized.

In the meantime, budget requests are being scaled back. Over $6600 was reduced from the swimming pool budget while $10-thousand dollars in partial funding for a squad car was cut in half. Sealcoating projects are being reduced while funding has been decreased or eliminated for the Bunny Berigan Jazz Jubilee, the Historical Society and Harriet O’Connell Room, and the food pantry, among others.

Expenditures that remain in the proposed capital projects plan include $46-thousand for a generator and $15-thousand for a truck for the utility, $15-thousand dollars for a DPW mower and around $10,000 for computers and election equipment for the city clerk, treasurer and courtroom.

The reductions would result in a tax levy of $830-thousand dollars and a mill rate of $10.61-per-thousand, an increase of $1.08. For the owner of a $150-thousand-dollar home, that would result in an increase of $161 on the tax bill they’ll see in December. City officials will have some decisions to make when the budget comes up for a public hearing and vote on Tuesday, November 20.