Photo by Ted Lutz â€“ Four members of the Kane Borough Council look over documents Monday during a 90-minute budget workshop at the borough building.
The Kane Borough Council last week endorsed a tentative 2012 budget that carries a property tax increase of 1.5 mills.
At least three council members now are supporting a tax increase of at least 4 mills.
Speaking at a budget workshop Monday, Councilwoman Janet Bard said she would "recommend" a tax increase of 5 mills-- nearly a 40 percent increase in borough taxes.
Councilmen Jim Salvamoser and Dennis Drost both supported a 4-mill tax increase-- and the elimination of one full-time officer in the Kane Police Department.
Councilman John Gentilman, who cast the lone negative vote last week against the proposed budget, said again that he wants a "zero" tax increase. He said he opposes a tax increase because "the town can't afford it."
Council President Howard Kane also attended the forum, but he left before a poll was taken on suggestions for a tax rate for the 2012 budget.
Councilman Mike Merry and Councilwoman Holly Harris did not attend the 90-minute workshop.
The tentative budget-- with the 1.5-mill tax increase-- now is available for public inspection at the borough building along Bayard Street.
Based on discussion Monday and the informal poll, it appears council could consider raising the tax rate higher than 1.5 mills when it adopts a final budget month. Action to adopt the budget may come at the council meeting Dec. 12 at 4 p.m. at the borough building. The meeting is open to the public.
The proposal to cut of one of the five full-time police officers is creating a rift on council.
"I think we should cut one police officer," Drost said. His recommendation was endorsed by Salvamoser.
Kane, however, said "I definitely don't want to cut anyone."
Bard said she also opposes a cut in the police force.
"I live in town because I want services," Bard said Monday evening at a meeting of the Kane Borough Sewer Authority. "Police service is something a town should have."
In a letter to council, Borough Police Chief Brian Hillard said "I know cutting positions in the department is an option you have which I hope you do not plan on doing."
"If this is something you are considering, I would only ask you to please meet with me prior to making a final decision on the issue," Hillard said.
Council has agreed to meet with the police chief to discuss the proposed manpower cut in the police department. That meeting is tentatively set for 3:30 p.m. Dec. 1.
Bard said her proposed 5-mill tax increase is justified because "we can't fix roads because we don't have any money."
"When are we going to get our streets paved?" Bard asked. "You need 5 mills." She said residents will be paying one way or another-- either in higher taxes to pave borough streets or in repairs to their vehicles that hit potholes.
See full article by purchasing the Nov. 22 edition of The Kane Republican.