Fox Lake city tax levy up 14 percent: Mill rate increases $1.08 per $1,000 of value

November 22, 2018

FOX LAKE – City taxes in Fox Lake are up substantially over last year, although there are no dramatic line items or projects planned for 2019.

According to City Administrator Dean Perlick, city taxes are increasing $102,017, up 14 percent (from $727,999 in 2018 to $830,606 in 2019).

General fund expenditures are up a modest 1.6 percent.

The hike is largely because less unused funds will be used in 2019. In 2018, nearly $137,000 in unused funds were applied to the budget while next year’s total will be only $75,000.

“That is a good chunk of the reason for the tax increase,” said Perlick. “The largest part of that was over-budgeting for projects in 2018 and maybe not filling a position that was eliminated. We’re using $61,535 less unused tax revenue in 2019.”

An additional expenditure this year is a 2 percent wage increase, and paying out benefits above and beyond allowable limits. Thus people who had not used vacation time in anticipation of long-term reimbursement will be paid before those accumulations disappear.

Adding to the tax burden is a $7,400 overall drop in state revenue.

According to Perlick, the Fox Lake budget is a collaboration of city personnel (the mayor, city administrator and department heads) who present it to the City Council. The City Council approves it after it is reviewed and debated several times.

One member of the public attended the budget hearing Tuesday night and the final budget was approved without change.

Perlick admits that the increase is substantial, but that none of it is being spent without good reason.

It translates to a $161 increase ($1,591) for a $150,000 home. The 2018 city tax bill for such a home was $1,430. To compute the city tax rate multiply the home’s value in thousands (89 for an $89,000 home) by the mill rate ($10.61) to compute the city taxes being paid.

“Yes, it’s a sizeable increase, but the TIF (Tax Incremental Finance) districts are paying for themselves,” said Perlick. “We didn’t have to levy additional dollars to cover those costs. That’s good news.”

He added, “We’ve done a lot of new roads. Good things are happening with LeRoy Meats and Dollar General (new businesses on the city’s west side) making Fox Lake a better place to live. There is a cost associated with that.”

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