The Kane Borough Council voted 4-3 Monday to adopt a 2012 budget that carries a 3-mill increase in the property tax rate.
Council President Howard Kane joined with Councilwoman Janet Bard and Councilmen Jim Salvamoser and Mike Merry to endorse the tax hike. Councilwoman Holly Harris and Councilmen John Gentilman and Dennis Drost cast the negative votes.
The increase of nearly 28 percent in the tax rate is believed to be one of the highest in Kane history and comes at a time when the area is facing double-digit unemployment and decreasing population.
Under the final budget, the borough will continue with a five-member police department and no layoffs in the Streets Department and Sewage Treatment Department.
The new budget carries a tax rate of 10.875 mills. Owners of property assessed at $50,000 will see their borough tax bill climb by about $150 from $394 per year to about $544.
The budget calls for 1 mill from the increase to go for street improvements. This means the borough now will be using 2.5 mills from the tax rate for street work.
Since each mill generates about $36,000 in revenue, the new tax rate will bring in an additional $108,000 in revenue-- if taxes are paid.
According to a report Monday, the borough's uncollected property taxes for this year total $113,529.20. Lori Feldbauer, borough office manager, said the borough recently received $8,900, leaving the borough holding the bag for about $105,000 in unpaid property taxes.
A standing-room-only crowd of more than 30 jammed into the council chambers for the meeting. Several residents spoke on the budget for a total of 55 minutes.
Mick Petruney of Kearney Street predicted that a tax increase won't help build the borough treasury because there will be "more on the delinquent rolls" with unpaid taxes.
"You need to cut," Petruney told council. "It's time to lay some people off. We've got too many cops."
Petruney said "95 percent" of the property owners in Kane "can't afford it (a tax increase)."
See full article by purchasing the Dec. 13 edition of The Kane Republican.