Maywood Board Mulls 5% Tax Levy Hike That Staffers Say Won’t Cost Taxpayers

Friday, November 23, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: A chart comparing the 2017 tax levy and the breakdown of revenue based on incremental increases over last year’s levy. | Village of Maywood 

During a Nov. 20 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees voted 3-2 for a resolution approving an estimated property tax levy for 2018 of $23,019,182 — an amount that was recommended by village staffers, who stressed that the increased levy will not necessarily translate into increased taxes.

Maywood Trustees Henderson Yarbrough, Antonio Sanchez and Kimyada Wellington voted in favor of the resolution while Mayor Edwenna Perkins and Isiah Brandon voted against it. Trustees Ron Rivers and Melvin Lightford were absent.

The 2018 levy amount reflects a 3.6 percent increase over last year’s total levy, which is the money that the village raises from property taxes in order to fund necessary government services.

This year, staff recommended a 5 percent increase in the village’s corporate fund (which does not include funds set aside for police and fire pensions and recreation), from $12,560,363 in 2017 to $13,188,381 in 2018.

The vote on the resolution does not finalize the tax levy. The board still needs to hold a public hearing on Dec. 4. The board must take a final vote on the levy before the Cook County Clerk’s Dec. 25 filing deadline.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Lanya Satchell, the village’s finance director, said that the additional $628,018 in revenue would help pay for just some of the village’s many critical needs that are funded through the corporate fund.

For instance, she said, the village is still figuring out a way to purchase a ladder truck for the fire department to replace the one that was recently decommissioned. The village also needs to pay for new police vehicles, infrastructure repairs and outstanding bills.

Staff is proposing to nearly double the dollars in the recreation fund, from $82,500 in 2017 to $150,000 in 2018, in order to pay for needed improvements at the Fred Hampton Aquatic Center, which is run by the West Cook YMCA. Attendance at the pool has increased significantly over the last three years, resulting in more demands on the aging facility, village officials said.

The amount that the village is required to put into the police and fire pension funds this year have decreased significantly since 2016, when tax levy requirements for the police and fire pension funds increased by 58 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

Most of that increase two years ago, village officials explained at the time, was due to a state law requiring municipalities to make annual contributions that would increase funding levels to a 90 percent “fully-funded” threshold by 2040.

Up to that point, the village had not been adequately paying into those funds, prompting a precipitous hike in payments, particularly to the police fund, in order for the village to be on track to hit that fully-funded threshold in time.

Maywood Village Manager Willie Norfleet, Jr. has explained in the past 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.

The village’s 2018 tax levy requirement for the police pension fund was 3.6 percent less than 2017, going from $2,136,078 to $3,988,248. The village’s tax levy requirement for the fire pension fund increased by 9.6 percent over last year, going from $2,691,888 to $2,940,553.

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Featured image: A chart comparing the 2017 tax levy and the breakdown of revenue based on incremental increases over last year’s levy. | Village of Maywood 

Village staffers said that the 5 percent tax levy increase in the corporate fund will not translate into higher tax bills, because the village’s Equalized Assessed Value, or the total taxable value of properties in Maywood, grew by 13 percent this year.

Back in July, Norfleet said that the EAV growth meant that taxpayers with homes in the village valued at $100,000 and that experienced no assessor valuation increase could see tax bills that are approximately $600 less than the year before. He said that any exemptions property owners may be eligible to receive would not factor into the possible tax reduction.

During the Nov. 20 meeting, however, Perkins, who lamented over staff’s recommended  5 percent tax levy increase, said that she’d been fielding calls from angry residents this year who saw their tax bills increase drastically.

The last tax bill that came out you had people who wound up with a $700 increase and they’re asking us who is in charge of this?” Perkins said. 

Norfleet said that the fiscal conditions he had referred to in July would not be applicable until next year, since there is a lag in property tax collections.

Norfleet and Satchell reassured board members that, because of the significant increase in EAV, the 2018 tax levy increase will not translate into higher property taxes for taxpayers whose properties have not increased in value. For some board members, however, that was not reassurance enough.

“I totally will not support a 5 percent increase,” said Trustee Isiah Brandon. “I don’t think that will be fair to residents.”

Brandon said that he believes that, with a new Democratic governor taking office the village should be able to tap into state funding that was off-limits during Gov. Bruce Rauner’s term in office.

Norfleet, however, said that the 5 percent tax levy increase would provide critical funds for a village that has “no cash flow, deficits in virtually every fund and no reserves.” 

“A lot of communities say their reserve is one, two or three months,” Norfleet said. “In our case, our reserve is zero and we have a deficit and our cash flow is limited.” 

The village board has passed a 3 percent tax levy increase in its corporate fund each year since at least 2015, foregoing hundreds of thousands of dollars in property tax revenue.

Brandon and Trustee Kimyada Wellington said that village officials should communicate more clearly with residents the benefits of a 5 percent tax levy increase, with Wellington asking staffers to help the public answer questions, such as “will bills be paid? Will we be current? How many months will we have in reserve? Those are things you’re trying to address.” 

The board recommended that village officials schedule a town hall to help residents understand the tax levy. Officials have not yet announced a date for that town hall.

Satchell said that the public must also understand that “there are other things that make up the tax bill” and that “this tax levy is not the same as the residential tax bill.” 

She also emphasized that residents should know that variations in their tax bills depend, in large part, on their individual property values and directed taxpayers to the Cook County Assessor’s website, which shows residents how their estimated property tax bills are calculated. VFP 

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One thought on “Maywood Board Mulls 5% Tax Levy Hike That Staffers Say Won’t Cost Taxpayers”

  1. I don’t believe a darn thing any of them say! How do you have a tax levy but not raise the taxes? Sounds like double talk to me. I don’t put stock in any thing they say. First of all the Village Manager and Mrs. Lanya are both over paid for the job they are suppose to do. I told Mr. Willie Norfleet Jr months ago that businesses are leaving this community because of the high taxes, His arrogant response was “prove it.” Well did The Tropical Times Restaurant up and move? But that’s not enough to alarm someone that is not invested in our community! What does he care he’s still taking in the big bucks (to another village)for being useless! We paid $6000 to move him here from Texas! By the way someone should ask “Daddy Warbucks” if he can find a grocery store any place in his bag of tricks? Mrs Lanya Satchel also need to be run completely out of town! She is claiming that we need more money to fund the Fred Hampton Pool! Will someone ask her how much money does the YMCA collect off of the pool and what is the money spent on?SHE HAS NO IDEA! How bout that? Also can someone tell me why we’re paying for our water and buying bottles of water for the village employees? I am fed up with this nonsense.

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