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City aims for $50K more in taxes

MARENGO – City officials approved a $50,000 increase to its property-tax levy, but fear they won’t see the additional money because of significantly declining home values.

By 5-2, the City Council on Monday approved an increase to the $1.24 million in property taxes feeding city coffers this year.

But city may never see the additional money because property values are expected to decline. A similar situation happened last year, when the council raised its levy but ultimately received $34,000 less in property taxes than in 2010.

“We are justifying the increase based upon the fact that we lost money,” City Manager Gary Boden said. “I hope we break even.”

Homes values in Marengo’s four townships appear to be well below the average used in the county multiplier to make property assessments uniform in McHenry County, Boden said.

But if the levy is realized – which Boden said is unlikely – the owner a home assessed at $150,000 will pay the city about $18 more in property taxes.

Declining property tax revenue hinders the city’s ability to restore steep cuts made four years ago, when the city shrank its staff to 30 employees from about 50.

In other news, Marengo voters will be asked for a second time on the April 9 ballot whether they want the city to bargain for cheaper electrical rates for residents and small businesses. Some neighboring communities, such as Huntley, endorsed the voluntary program during the March primaries. But it failed in Marengo by seven votes.

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