The Bloomington City Council is facing an increase in the 2012 tax rate. (WJBC file photo)
By Zach Dietmeier
BLOOMINGTON - The City of Bloomington is likely to face an increase in the 2012 tax levy.
The city council will hear recommendations and scenarios for a five-percent increase at Tuesday’s meeting. City Manager David Hales believes dealing with funding police and fire pensions will impact the community.
“One of the options we’re looking at is trying to keep the tax levy equal to last year,” said Hales. “But, we’re also looking at some other alternatives that will have an impact on the tax rate.”
The levy saw three years without an increase prior to this year. While tax rates in Bloomington are likely to increase, it will likely not be as much as they will in 2013. Hales said the need to address pension funding with a decreasing estimated assessed value for McLean County leaves little room for tax cuts.
“It has been the philosophy of the council to maintain the levy year after year and we are trying to adhere to that,” said Hales. “I anticipate that the 2013 tax levy will be more impacted by any final decision they make on contribution rates.”
The increase would mean the owner of a $150,000 home would pay about $34 more per year.
Meanwhile, Hales said the Bloomington Public Library is also looking to increase its levy this year.
"The library, like the city, has seen some increases in salary along with this massive study that they have just completed on the possibility of an Eastside expansion," said Hales. "We are also hoping to hear how that study impacts this particular request for an increase in their levy."
Final adoption of both the library and the city tax levy will be Dec. 10.
Additionally, Hansen Engineering will conduct a study of several road crossings, both present and future over the Norfolk Southern line and Union Pacific railroad. City Manager David Hales says Hansen will help with in-depth analysis in the southwest and southeast quadrants of Bloomington.
"Hansen will help with in-depth analysis in the southwest and southeast quadrants of Bloomington," said Hales. "Both to help us in our negotiations with both railroad companies and as we continue to evaluate the benefits, costs, and what are some of the impacts any and all of these improvements may have on the traveling public."
A new crossing at Hamilton Road south of Hershey Road will be up for approval as part of future plans to extend Hamilton and Hershey Roads.
The council will also hear the transit annual report from Connect Transit. Ridership has gone up, and discussion could include route changes in the city and a report on a sustainability study group for the system.
The council meets on Tuesday due to the government holiday observance of Veterans Day on Monday.
Zach Dietmeier can be reach at firstname.lastname@example.org.