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As Property Assessments Dip, Plainfield Tax Rate to Go Up

Village trustees previewed the proposed $20.9 million 2013-14 budget at a Monday night meeting.

Plainfield officials are mulling what village staff called a “status quo” budget that would keep the tax levy the same as last year.

But with assessed property values projected to drop villagewide, Director of Management Services Traci Pleckham said the village’s tax rate would have to increase to generate the proposed $5.1 million in property taxes.

“It will change the homeowners’ rate, but the dollar amount [of the levy] will stay the same,” Pleckham said.

The tax levy is the amount of property taxes a governing body asks the Will County treasurer to collect on its behalf to fund its operating expenses.

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The current rate is about 43 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation (EAV), up from 40 cents the previous year. 

“[The tax rate] will depend on what the final assessments are for the village,” Village Administrator Brian Murphy said. “The overall picture is that we won’t bring in any more money than we’re collecting now.”

According to estimates from Will County, EAV is expected to fall an average of 5 percent, Pleckham said.

Some homeowners — namely those whose home’s assessed value drops more than the average — won’t see the village’s portion of their tax bill increase or could even see a decrease, Murphy said.

But those whose property assessment value has stayed the same or gone up will see a slight increase.

“Some might see an uptick if their valuation increases or their [property value] decrease was lower than the average,” he said.

Murphy said the typical Plainfield homeowner paid about $600 in property taxes to the village this year. If there was no decrease in property value for that home, “your biggest scenario would be a $30 increase,” he noted.

‘Heavy lifting to do’

At a Monday night Committee of the Whole meeting, Pleckham outlined a projected $20.9 million general fund budget for fiscal year 2013-14.

That includes a projected $11.16 million in funding for the Plainfield Police Department, an amount Pleckham said represents a 2.6 percent increase over last year.

“Just like every department in the village, just like every community in America, we’ve been asked to do more with less,” Police Chief John Konopek said, adding that in recent years, the department has reduced staff, worked to extend the life of police vehicles and consolidated services to save money. “We’re not looking at any major increases at all.”

He cited figures showing that Plainfield, with 51 officers, has 1.27 sworn officers per 1,000 residents — the second lowest in the state compared to communities of similar size. He said the Illinois State Police recommend 1.8 sworn officers per 1,000 residents.

Konopek said police have also used revenue generated by asset forfeiture to purchase equipment.

Murphy noted that while there is still “heavy lifting to do,” the village is in better financial shape than it was just a few years ago.

“If you recall, we found ourselves in some very different financial situations about three, four years ago,” he said. In 2009, the village struggled with a $3.8 million deficit.

Last year, the board voted to approve new gas and sales taxes to help offset a projected deficit. This time around, the proposed budget shows a $62,986 surplus.

Trustee Garrett Peck applauded staff's work on the proposal.

"It's great news that the villlage will not be raising property taxes," he said.

Peck and fellow trustee Dan Rippy did offer some feedback in the form of a proposal that the village drop an amusement tax imposed on businesses that offer recreation or entertainment like billiards or bowling.

The tax, which amounts to 1 percent of gross receipts, is passed on to customers by businesses and generates only a few thousands dollars for the village. Last year's budget showed $4,000 in amusement tax revenues.

Rippy called it "problematic" for businesses to have to calculate and pay the tax. 

"It's not a lot of money we're collecting," he said. 

Peck said abolishing the tax would make Plainfield more business friendly.

Hearing scheduled

Before voting to approve the tax levy, the board must hold a public hearing. Pleckham said that's tentatively scheduled to happen at the first board meeting in December, set for Dec. 3.

The board must approve the tax levy before the end of the year, meaning trustees must take action by its last scheduled 2012 meeting on Dec. 17.

anonymous November 01, 2012 at 04:02 PM
It is very confusing that Garret Peck states "It's great news that the villlage will not be raising property taxes," while Director of Management Services Traci Pleckham states "The village’s tax rate would have to increase to generate the proposed $5.1 million in property taxes." in the same article. Does Garret Peck know what is really happening in Plainfield, or is he totally distracted by his campaign !!!
tim 2.0 November 01, 2012 at 04:34 PM
The village is going to collect the exact same amount from each property owner in taxes. The actual dollar amont each property owner pays to the village will remain the same. = property taxes are not going up I watched the meeting on TV. The patch did not message this very well.
tim 2.0 November 01, 2012 at 04:36 PM
The riverwalk is not being funded with tax payer $. Its is being raised privately and the foundation is doing an excellent job!
Kevin Scott November 01, 2012 at 05:09 PM
That is correct, out of pocket is not going up, but the rate is. This is typical of government! We must tighten our belts when money is tight, they just shake us down. If we tried to make money that way we would go to prison.
RB November 01, 2012 at 05:17 PM
tim 2.0 - don't be ridiiculous! They are raising the tax rate -that is a tax hike! The only reason they will not collect more money is because they are taxing properties that are worth less.
Julio November 01, 2012 at 05:26 PM
When tax RATES go up, taxes go UP.
Julio November 01, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Despite this article MY PROPERTY TAXES HAVE GONE UP WHILE MY PROPERTY VALUE HAS PLUMMETED!!!
anonymous November 01, 2012 at 06:24 PM
I think the Patch did an excellent job of reporting here!!! I hope the politicians don't read your response, or we are all in trouble!!! If you raise the tax RATE, you are raising the tax!! No matter how you slice it, you will ultimately pay more out of pocket on a home that is valued lower. The taxing body may get the same amount of money, but they are getiing more from the tax payer to cover the loss in property values.
anonymous November 01, 2012 at 06:32 PM
As a side note to this ridiculous statement from Peck, I will vote AGAINST every incumbent in the coming election!!! It is this attitude that makes me sick. They actually think they are doing us a favor by being an elected official. No you work FOR us !!!! You get paid to work For us!!! Go get a real job, and give someone else a chance to make a difference FOR us !!
Ray November 01, 2012 at 07:57 PM
I believe some of the article to be misleading. Even though our properties are worth less since the housing crash I don't believe what we pay the county in dollars and cents has gone down unless we challenged our assessment and forced them to take less by lowering the assessed value. So not only will those whose taxes have not went down, (to me that’s the misleading part because no one’s assessed rate went down any amount worth mentioning without them challenging the rate), everyone who hasn't filed an assessment challenge is going to see their taxes go up. Oh and by the way the process is a pain but because we challenged our assessment and got our assessed value lowered and while it took almost a year we just heard from our mortgage company this month and got a significant refund from our escrow account and our payments went down almost $70.00 a month and I’m sure our home is on the lower end of middle of the road assessed value for this area. My advice to anyone is you don’t have to sit still for this. All of our homes because of the housing crash are over assessed. If you don’t challenge your assessment you are giving away your hard earned dollars because you are without a doubt being over assessed.
Bruce M November 01, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Just like Tom Cross is trying to trim government "fat" and reduce wasteful spending, Plainfield needs to do the same. Stop the needless spending. Plainfield cannot just keep raising taxes. Soon it will just not make sense to live here. These are NOT times to be raising taxes!! Think! What does this town NEED for the better of the town? Plainfield needs to start using common sense!
concernedresident November 01, 2012 at 08:26 PM
@Ray congrats on getting a break, when I fought my assessed value I got shot down even though I had a recent appraisal done. The county assessed my house at over $100K above value but since there were no "clean" sales in my neighborhood, only short sales and foreclosures they threw out my appraisal. Now this year value went down, they had no choice but to adjust because they were inflating so much, but as I suspected they are increasing ratio. Let me break out another $9k for all that Will county does for me! Maybe we can build the county a new office to match the Plainfield fire district campus.
Vincent Athy November 01, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Very interesting, raise the property tax rates, drop the amusement tax, and a couple of months ago reject legalized video game tax dollars that were offered to Plainfield? By raising the property tax rate you are taxing every homeowner in Plainfield. By accepting gaming tax you are only taxing people who choose to play, which tax is fair? Legalize Video Gaming, take the tax dollars, and help your business community thrive.
Julio November 02, 2012 at 03:07 AM
I was told republicans run Plainfield. If that's true, why are the taxes so high?
JeffK November 02, 2012 at 05:33 AM
While I think Peck had been running a flawless campaign that was a very stupid statement, on record no less. This is a tax increase. If the JBT camp is smart they will be going after him for not knowing the difference. I anticipate fall out from this. Polling has shown property taxes to be a very hot issue.
Julie Ferenzi November 02, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Unfortunately when prices increase and the market improves (fingers crossed) that is when we will REALLY feel the pinch of these increases. Tax rates hardly ever go down, so while some people might not "feel" it right away, we will all be paying more eventually. This is why they use a 3 year study to assess values...
Tim November 02, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Because that is what Republicans do. They will tell you how much they are against taxes and regulation, but when it's time to actually vote on it they have no problem voting for exactly the opposite of what they told you. Look no further than Garrett Peck for plenty of examples. Other than the ones that have already been mentioned, he also claims to be 'pro business', but when the vote for creating a business incubation center in Plainfield came up, he didn't vote for it. (luckily it passed anyway) http://plainfield.patch.com/articles/business-incubator-center-flies-with-village-board "The only board member to question the center was Garrett Peck"
anonymous November 02, 2012 at 03:07 PM
I know it cost him my vote !!! I certainly don't want a person working on my behalf that doesn't understand a simple concept like this. Or is he trying to spin the increase to make himself look like the great reformer. You can fool the fools, and you can inform the uninformed ! Let's hope they are too lazy to go out and vote as well !!!!
Lisa S. November 02, 2012 at 07:43 PM
School and religious organizations bring in little to no tax dollars.
mike November 02, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Now you really have to wonder how the village is spending our TAX dollars and at the same time keeping Plainfield a Beautiful town. My taxes were $8,000.00 last year and now I see more section 8 housing in the area with more police activity. If they want to bring in revenue again how about that vehicle tax. I didn't mind spending $30/car for a year. I asked why they discontinued that and there response was that too many people complained. Anytime you increase "our" out of pocket expense, we will complain!! The middle class is once again taking the hit, and for whom is the question.?
Lisa S. November 02, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Did you appeal to the state? According to the laws governing the assessment, the state CAN take those short sales and foreclosures into account. I appealed and won.
Lisa S. November 02, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Tim, that's simply not true.
Tim November 02, 2012 at 08:14 PM
What part of that is not true? The part about Garret Peck saying he is pro-business, yet not voting to bring in new business, that the rest of the village board thankfully passed? Or the part about Republicans saying how they are against taxes, and then raising them? Be careful here, a lot of the current board members ran as 'independents' because of the bad taste the word 'republican' leaves for a lot of people, some of them even belong to other republican organizations, they just don't advertize it. Right Margie? You may not like it, but that does not mean it is not true. If you want to claim it is not true, you are going to have to show why the link provided is not true.
MikeS November 03, 2012 at 12:43 PM
My son lives in Valpo Indiana, they have as good or better services and schools. They passed a law in Indiana, the property taxes cannot exceed 1% of the value of the home. If they can do it their why cant we do it here. On a 500M home $5000 in taxes, HELLO! I assure you when I can get out from under this house, I'm gone.
concernedresident November 03, 2012 at 01:04 PM
I think Mike brings up a very valid point. How many people are going to pack up and move once they turn their homes right side up? How many people are going to move out of this state when they retire and not because of the weather but because they can't afford the property taxes? This is going to blow up in Illinois face (or should I be specific and say Plainfield) if the greed continues, maybe not next year, or 5 years but further down the road people are going to leave.
MikeS November 03, 2012 at 02:00 PM
And Indiana is in the black, what's going on here?
T-Bone November 03, 2012 at 03:11 PM
<Plainfield, with 51 officers, has 1.27 sworn officers per 1,000 residents> <Illinois State Police recommend 1.8 sworn officers per 1,000 residents> Yes but Plainfield is Safer then 62% of the rest of the US! Just because Illinois State Police recommends it, Doesn't mean it's necessary. <worked to extend the life of police vehicles and consolidated services to save money> Haven't we all? Spoiled Brat!
Gonzo November 03, 2012 at 11:43 PM
It's a trick - raise the tax rate when values go down - you don't notice the hit. When you property value goes back up even incrementally in the next 5 years - you will be paying more tax in actual dollars. Old government ploy - they push the rate increase through when you will notice the outcome the least. How about they do more with less - who says they have to collect 5.1 million? How about 4.5 million or some other value that is less like the rest of society is adjusting to these days? Plainfield already is doing much better with raising water rates, new capitol charge, - alot of new guaranteed money coming in they did not have before. All government local and beyond keep going to the well to gut the sheep...
Tim November 03, 2012 at 11:49 PM
And then you can enjoy the other wonderful part of taxes in Indiana... county income taxes, as well as state and federal. I've lived in Indiana, and am always amused when I hear people in Illinois say that their state income tax is lower in Indiana, so it must be better....
Lisa S. November 04, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Tim...get a grip. The generalization that ALL Republicans do or don't do anything is not true. And not everyone in this town thought that the 'business center' was a good idea. I do not think it was a good idea. It opens up liability, interior building traffic and maintenance/business expenses that should not be borne by taxpayers. A small fee is not going to offset this.

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