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Higher tax increase expected in Kane budget

December 9, 2011

Photo by Ted Lutz – Ken Kane (left), outgoing president of the Kane School Board, passes the gavel to David Westerburg (center), who was elected Thursday as the new president of the board. Stephanie Eckstrom (right) was re-elected as vice president of the school board.

The next Kane borough budget will carry a tax rate increase, but it will be higher than the 1.5-mill hike called for in the tentative spending plan adopted last month.
How much higher?
The answer should be given Monday when the Kane Borough Council is expected to adopt a final budget for 2012.
Adoption of the budget is expected to take place during council's meeting Monday at 4 p.m. at the borough building along Bayard Street. The meeting is open to the public.
Council held a third budget workshop Thursday. Some council members discussed ways to trim the budget such as cutting a full-time police officer. Others justified the need to raise taxes to cover operating expenses.
It appears that a revised budget plan boosts the tax rate by 4 mills from 7.875 mills to 11.875 mills-- a 34 percent increase.
Owners of borough property assessed at $50,000 now pay about $394 per year in borough taxes. A 4-mill increase would raise the tax burden by $200 to about $594 for a property assessed at $50,000.
There is mixed support for a 4-mill tax increase.
Councilman Mike Merry, who is leaving council when his term expires Dec. 31, said he would "not agree" to a 4-mill tax increase. He said previous councils should have raised taxes in "baby steps" to avoid such a large tax increase.
Councilman Dennis Drost proposed a 3-mill tax increase along with the elimination of one full-time member of the five-member borough police department. He said the borough could use part-time police officers to provide around-the-clock police protection.
In a message heard over the speaker phone held by Drost, former borough police chief "Yogi" Osmer supported the use of part-time police officers.
He said the borough "could be all right" and operate with "no problems at all" by cutting one full-time police officer and using more part-time help. He said a full-time officer is "very expensive" due to the cost of health insurance and other fringe benefits.

See full article by purchasing the Dec. 9 edition of The Kane Republican.

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