Sycamore City Council approves 2018 city, library tax levies

December 18, 2018

SYCAMORE – Sycamore City Council members unanimously voted to support the proposed property tax levy that would maintain the levy for the city’s general operations fund and help meet the city’s fire and pension obligations.

The council voted, 8-0, during its meeting Monday to approve the proposed 2018 tax levy and refinance some of the city’s bonds. That comes after members previously had elected to move in the direction of a levy option that would maintain the levy for general operations, which would result in a $6.46 increase on the tax bill for someone who owns a house valued at $200,000.

Mayor Curt Lang said he’s pleased that the proposed levy hasn’t changed from when the council first started considering options for the city several meetings ago. He said he thinks it’s “pretty awesome” that the city doesn’t have to change much from its previous levy, as well.

“The bottom line is, how much does the homeowner pay?” Lang said. “And I think it’s similar to before, where I think they’re happy with our services and think it’s money well spent.”

The city is estimating an increase in the equalized assessed valuation of 6.25 percent from last year’s EAV, which includes about $6.8 million in new construction. Although the city’s tax rate would be decreasing for the levy option city officials are pursuing, the tax bill still would be increasing because all property values are increasing.

The City Council also approved the Sycamore Public Library’s levy. Someone who owns a house valued at $200,000 would see an increase of less than $1.

Food truck regulations

The City Council also had its first reading of a new chapter in city code regarding food truck regulations during the Monday meeting.

City officials talked about some nuances of the proposed ordinance, including whether to require more detailed scale drawings. They also looked at repeat offender fines, which are proposed to be $100 for the first offense and more fines for each additional offense.

City Manager Brian Gregory said it could escalate quickly and even result in daily fines for food truck owners.

“The goal, of course, with anything is compliance, first and foremost,” Gregory said. “If we’re not able to achieve compliance, then at that point that’s where the penalty comes into play.”

Lang said the city wants to allow people to expand their businesses and be successful. However, he said, the city wants to protect traditional storefront restaurants and make it fair for food trucks to adhere to similar guidelines.

“So this ordinance, I think, protects the brick-and-mortar restaurants as well as gives an opportunity for entrepreneurs with food trucks,” Lang said.

The City Council may vote on the regulations after the ordinance’s second reading. The next council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 7 at the Sycamore Center, 308 W. State St.

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