Woodstock passes up increase for inflation

WOODSTOCK – Residents can expect to pay higher property taxes despite a slightly lower 2012 tax levy.

The City Council on Tuesday night approved a $9.5 million levy for fiscal year 2013-14 – a reduction of about $28,000. The city rejected a 3 percent increase for inflation that governments are entitled to under the tax law.

Under the levy, the owner of a home valued at $180,000 in 2012 will pay the city $1,038. That’s $32 more than for the same home the previous year, when the house would have been valued at $200,000, based on preliminary data.

“We’re doing everything within our legal authority to hold that amount down,” City Manager Tim Clifton said.

The city approved a ballooned levy to collect taxes generated from new growth in the community.

Roscoe Stelford, Woodstock deputy city manager and finance director, said he didn’t expect the city would collect the entire levy.

In 2011, Woodstock approved a levy of $9.53 million and collected $9.07 million after adjustments.

In 2011, the city levied $420,000 toward the street and bridge fund, but only collected $172,000.
The city offsets street and bridge costs with street and bridge levies from local townships. Woodstock levied $430,000 toward street and bridge costs in 2012.

Stelford said the city’s goal is to only capture new growth. He said the majority of change in Woodstock residents’ property tax bills will come from how their own home changed in value respective to the average.

“If you’re a property owner and your EAV only went down 4 percent when the average was 11 percent, you’re now a bigger piece of the property tax pie,” Stelford said.

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