Kane council to consider higher tax increase

It appears certain that the 2012 Kane borough budget will carry a property tax increase.How much of an increase? That’s the million-dollar question.The tentative budget calls for a modest 1.5-mill increase. However, discussion at two budget workshops indicates that council may be ready to support an even higher tax increase.Councilwoman Janet Bard already has announced she favors a 5-mill tax increase that would, in part, provide funding for necessary repairs for some of the deteriorating streets in the borough. No other council members have endorsed her hefty tax hike.The amount of the tax increase may be solidified Thursday when council holds another budget workshop at 3:30 p.m. at the borough building along Bayard Street. The forum is open to the public.Council is expected to adopt a final 2012 budget when it meets Monday in regular session at 4 p.m. at the borough building.Last week’s budget workshop focused primarily on the Kane Police Department. Some council members reportedly support a cut in the five-member department headed by Chief Brian Hillard.Without a five-member department, Hillard has indicated that it would be difficult to maintain around-the-clock police coverage in Kane seven days a week, 365 days a year.While the police department was the main topic at the latest workshop, council also took aim at cutting costs in the Streets Department.Councilman John Gentilman wonders why it takes a four-man Streets Department crew to maintain about 20 miles of borough streets. He said Wetmore Township has a two-man crew to maintain nearly 30 miles of roads.“It’s the management skills,” Gentilman said.He said “many times” he has “witnessed” two Streets Department employees “riding in a plow truck.” He believes it is “a waste of tax dollars” to have “two people in a plow truck.”See full article by purchasing the Dec. 7 edition of The Kane Republican.