Silver Lake passes levy with 6.63 percent increase

The Silver Lake Village Board passed a tax levy that was 6.68 percent higher than 2010, but only after listening to more than an hour of critical comments from the public.

The tax levy for 2011 totals $1.04 million. It passed unanimously, with Trustees Marlene Engstrom and Barbara Ironside absent.

The board had scheduled a public hearing on the budget for 30 minutes before the regular monthly board meeting, at which the levy and its accompanying budget were to be voted on by the board. But the hearing actually extended for more than an hour as citizens peppered the board with questions and challenged line items.

Residents were critical of the board’s efforts to curb spending. Among the comments made by citizens:

If it means getting rid of the boat patrol, do it. If it means restructuring the police chief’s pay, do it. But you can’t keep raising taxes.”

The village is strapped and we’re strapped … Somewhere along the line we have to trim the budget even more.”

Village President Roger Johnson defended the budget, saying many of the village’s risings costs were beyond the board’s control.

“We’re trying to maintain this village the best way we can … but the costs keep going up,” Johnson said.

He acknowledged the frustration felt by those in the audience (about 25 people attended the hearing), but also laid the real responsibility for tax bill shock at the foot of the local school districts, which make up a much larger part of the tax burden.

“When you guys pull out your hair about your taxes, it’s not about the municipality, it’s the schools,” Johnson said.

Though taxes are due to the county tomorrow and there was little time to make changes tonight, Johnson and other village official encouraged residents to get involved with the budget process sooner next year.

“We appreciate you being here,” Trustee Sue Gerber said at the end of the regular meeting.


One Comment

  1. Doug Randolph says:

    I stopped in yesterday afternoon and Terry Faber explained to me that the property taxes were only going up 1.67%, based on the mill rate of $5.46 up from $5.09 last year. I asked about the 6.68% and she explained to me about tax levy and how it didn’t affect property taxes. Sounds like our village board is taking pages from the Obama playbook. We are all doomed.

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