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Carpentersville raises water, sewer, trash rates
By Larissa Chinwah | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 2/19/2010 10:02 AM

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Carpentersville residents can expect to pay higher property taxes, steeper water and sewer rates and an additional fee for trash collection after village officials worked to make up a portion of the village's $2.5 million budget shortfall.

But the increases will still leave the village's budget gap at more than $1 million, the village staff said.

Village President Ed Ritter invoked his tiebreaking powers for the first time this week in approving several items related to property tax abatements and service fee increases. Ritter and trustees Judy Sigwalt, Brad McFeggan and Kay Teeter voted to retain the $759,625 in property taxes the village would have used to repay a 2006 general obligation bond. In past years, the village has abated about half of the amount levied to pay off the loan. Additionally, the same board members voted to hold on to about $275,000 of the money for a 2008 bond - about half of what the village typically abates. Instead, the amounts trustees chose to keep will bolster the fund that pays for the village's water and sewer service. That fund is projected to bring in $900,000 less in revenue next year.

"We kept some of the abatements because the water and sewer fund is not keeping up with the needs," Ritter said. "If we had abated the whole amount, we'd need much bigger water and sewer rate increases. We still have to raise the rates, but nothing like we would have if we had abated all of the money."

The decision means property tax rates will rise from $1.33 per $100 of equalized assessed value to $1.44 per $100 of assessed value, Ritter said.

Trustees Paul Humpfer, Keith Hinz and Patricia Schultz voted to abate the entire amounts to pay down bond debts that are used for capital improvement projects.

"I wanted to keep the tax rate where it is," Humpfer said. "We are already taxing residents for the new public works facility. That card has already been played."

Furthermore, trustees voted 4-3 to increase the water and sewer rates 7 percent to add about $358,000 to the fund. Ritter, McFeggan, Sigwalt and Teeter voted in favor of the rate increases.

Trustees also doubled the village's monthly environmental fee - from $3 per household to $6 per household - which will add about $360,000 to the general fund. But that amount does little to overcome the village's general fund deficit, estimated at more than $1.6 million. Trustees said an ordinance tabled Tuesday to double the village's impound fee from $250 to $500 is expected to add about $139,000 to the general fund.

Still, the fee increases do not erase the village's financial shortcomings.

"We are still looking at a $1 million shortfall," Sigwalt said. "This is not over. Staff are going to need to go over the budget line item by line item to see where can cut another $1 million."