A sentence that includes both “reduction” and “taxes” is always a welcome sight for residents.
For Wilmette homeowners, it is the first time they’ve seen such a thing, at least coming from the Village, in at least 30 years.
The Wilmette Village Board approved Dec. 13 a property tax levy that is 0.56 percent, or $115,800, below last year’s levy. According to village documents, officials predict inflation could cause Wilmette property tax bills to rise by up to 5 percent, but the Village of Wilmette portion (12%) of the bills will decrease.
“I am pleased the Village continues to be in a solid financial position and is able to present the first property tax reduction in over 30 years,” Village President Senta Plunkett said in a statement. “Our strong reserves, focused economic development efforts, and sound financial management allow us to maintain high quality services and investment in our community while mitigating the impact on our residents.”
The 2021 levy increase of 2.46 percent, or $600,000, over 2020 represented a 25-year low. The village’s levy increases since 1999 have climbed as high as 8.43 percent (2003), but traditionally range from 3 to 6 percent.
Since 1998, the village’s levy — the revenue gained from property taxes — has grown from $7.35 million to $20.83 million.
The Village of Wilmette drops its levy revenue into three buckets: general operating funds ($10.94 million, 2021), debt service ($3.75 million), and fire and police pension payments ($5.58 million).
While proud of the tax drop, Village of Wilmette officials are not anticipating it to continue in the future. A projections table shows the Village expects tax levy increases between 4.4-5.8 percent in each of the next four years (2023-2026).
Along with the tax levy, Wilmette trustees approved the village’s 2023 budget on Dec. 13. The $95.6 million budget includes $19.3 million in capital spending, primarily to fund road and water and sewer improvements.
A $2.53 million drawdown from village coffers is planned and will cover a gap in general-fund revenues. In the budget presentation, the village says the reserve spending is a strategy to leverage the Village’s “strong financial position” to offset “inflationary” economic conditions. The 2023 drawdown will leave reserves at 36 percent of the village budget — above the Village’s target of 30 percent.
The budget includes no changes to fees or charges.
The Village plans to add three staff positions in 2023: a sustainability coordinator (shared with Wilmette Park District), forester/tree preservation officer and a firefighter (temporary).
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