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Huntley eyes tax levy freeze

HUNTLEY – Residents likely will see a slight increase in Huntley’s portion of their property tax bills, despite the village deciding to freeze its levy request for the third consecutive year.

The added tax costs primarily come from property values collectively declining by roughly 9 percent in both McHenry and Kane counties, said Jennifer Chernak, the village’s financial director.

The village likely will maintain a balanced budget for 2013, despite a shrinking property tax base that helps pay for village services, along with fixed costs such as police, fire and municipal pensions.

“We are OK,” Chernak said. “We aren’t doing as many road projects as we have in the past, but we can still operate with the current level of services under the same property tax amount as last year.”

The frozen $3.8 million levy request means the owner of a $225,000 valued home will pay about $362 in Huntley property taxes before exemptions are applied. That bill is about $35 more than the 2011 version.

The Village Board gave its initial approval of the flat levy request during a committee meeting last week. Trustee Harry Leopold was the lone detractor, arguing for a slightly higher levy request that could have produced more revenue for infrastructure improvements.

Projects such as the Kreutzer Road extension, Chernak said, could have been completed quicker with more property tax dollars. But, she said, the village still is maintaining its frugal approach to budgeting.

The village has planned for the road extension for the past couple of years. Construction bids for the project are expected to be released in January.

Unlike neighboring areas, the village also is seeing significant revenue from heightened construction activity, including the development of a 118,000-square-foot supportive living center.

“I think we are in a better economic situation than most,” Chernak said.

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