A table showing a range of tax levy scenarios proposed by village officials. The village board only has the ability to change the level of taxes levied for the corporate fund. The fire and police pension funds are mandatory increases. | Village of Maywood
Monday, December 5, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
At a Nov. 14 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees voted 4-2 on a resolution determining the estimated real estate tax levy for 2016. Village officials are recommending that corporate and special purpose real estate taxes be levied for 2016 at $19,128,739 — a 14 percent increase over the previous year.
Mayor Edwenna Perkins and Trustee Isiah Brandon voted against the resolution, while Trustees Henderson Yarbrough, Antonette Dorris, Michael Rogers and Ron Rivers voted in favor of it. Trustee Melvin Lightford was absent.
A chunk of that increase, village officials say, is due to the village paying more into its police and fire pension funds. State law requires the village to make annual contributions that would increase funding levels to a 90 percent “fully-funded” threshold by 2040, according to an October memo by village attorney Michael Jurusik.
Tax levy requirements for the fire pension fund increased from $2,428,188 last year to $2,601,079 this year — an increase of 8 percent. Tax levy requirements for the police pension fund increased from $2,533,343 to $4,013,846 — an increase of 59 percent.
Those increases, village officials say, are based on unfunded liability, “which represents monies that should’ve been in the fund and demographic factors that have changed to include the hiring of new employees, employees retiring or becoming disabled and salary increases.”
In a separate levy, village officials noted, “estimated property taxes for debt service and public building commission leases for 2016 are $2,753,200 — down $400,000 from the previous year.”
During a Nov. 30 Legal, License and Ordinance Commission (LLOC) meeting, Village Manager Willie Norfleet said that the levies for the village’s pension and debt service funds are virtually set in stone and the board has no power to alter them.
“There are no options for reducing or modifying the police and fire pension funds or the debt portion,” he said.
During that Nov. 30 LLOC, village attorney Michael Jurusik added that, if the village doesn’t properly fund its fire and police pensions, the state could enact harsh penalties.
“You have to make that payment because it is required by state law and there’s a penalty, because if you don’t, other money coming from the state that the village has budgeted to pay bills with will be taken and put into the pension fund,” Jurusik said. “It will put the village in a bad hole because you will be short paying your other bills and services.”
Jurusik said that “the village is not alone” in maintaining unfunded fire and police pensions, adding that he isn’t aware of any municipality whose fire and police pensions are fully funded.
“The reality is that this is an issue across the state,” he said.
The board, however, can adjust the level of tax levied for its corporate fund, which village officials are recommending be increased by $591,967, or 5 percent over last year’s level.
Lanya Satchell, Maywood’s director of finance, wrote in a November memo that her recommendation for a tax levy increase was based on additional funds necessary to address numerous issues, such as an additional $200,000 over what’s currently budgeted for tree removal, $500,000 in matching grant funds necessary to secure a $2.5 million grant for street repairs and more than $290,000 in automatic wage increases for some village employees.
Last year, the board voted to increase the corporate tax levy by three percent, lower than the five percent recommended by village staff at the time.
A public hearing to approve the proposed real estate tax levy increase will be held Tuesday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m., inside of the Village Council Room, 125 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood. VFP