Friday, May 15, 2009

2008 Property Tax Bills and Library Budget

2008 tax bills have arrived in homes. The Plainfield Public Library District's tax rate has gone up for the first time since 1991, due to the complexities of the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, commonly known as the tax cap. The tax cap is based on a limit of the Consumer Price Index, which in 2008 was 4.1% the highest since the inception of the cap. The tax cap generally reduces a voter-approved tax rate. The Library’s tax rate is within the voter-approved rate according to the tax cap calculations. The increase in the Library's rate this year is 0.6% or ninth hundredths of a penny per hundred dollars of valuation. For the average home in the library district, this increase is $0.90 for the year if the home’s assessed value remained the same from 2007 to 2008. Overall, the Library's tax rate has fallen more than 45% since the inception of the tax cap and more than 6% over the last three years.

You can find more information about property taxes on the Will County Tax Extension web site , Illinois Department of Revenue's Taxpayer Answer Centerand on the Illinois property tax system in general.

As we enter into the budgeting cycle for the new fiscal year beginning July 1, the conservative budgeting practices of past Library Boards ensure that the Library’s budget remains in the black. However, projections show expense increases for state-mandated items like pensions and liability insurance outstripping revenue, as interest income declines. Many budget lines will be frozen in the coming year in order to cover the rising costs in other areas. I have requested that the Library Board of Trustees freeze my salary for the upcoming year to help maintain a balanced budget. We are fortunate that the Plainfield Library is in a position to maintain services without major cuts. We are able to maintain the standards set forth in Serving Our Public: Standards for Illinois Public Libraries in our budget allocations, including a minimum of 12% of operating expenditures for library materials.

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