Pieces of the 2012 property tax levy for the Village and the Deerfield Public Library fell into place at Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting showing an 8.8 percent increase over the 2011 amount.
After acting Finance Director Eric Burk made reductions in the levy requested by Mayor Harriet Rosenthal and the Trustees, the effective number was $9,207,296 after an additional $453,690 was added to pay principal and interest on $9.075 million in bonds sold Monday.
Monday’s bond sale was the final piece of the tax levy puzzle which was first presented to the Board at a meeting of the Committee of the Whole Nov. 26. The Board unanimously passed the bond issue Monday after learning the Village would be paying a 1.81963 percent interest rate through December 1, 2031.
“This is it, folks, for the water reclamation plant and the library,” Mayor Harriet Rosenthal said after Burk and Village Manager Kent Street told her and the Board about Monday’s bond sale representing the final financing for those two major projects.
When Burk first presented the real estate tax proposal Nov. 26, Trustee William Seiden pushed for a reduction of all debt service not related to the water treatment plant. That took $1,361,226 off the levy by using a portion of Deerfield’s ample cash reserves.
An additional $26,000 was subtracted in the last week after the Trustees wanted to take the increase of the Village’s portion of the levy—exclusive of the library—below a five percent hike. Debt service from the bond issue brought it back over five percent.
Trustee Alan Farkas asked Burk if the principal and interest payment from the bond sale could come from reserves as well. “Can we absorb that out of the general fund?” he asked. Burk showed reluctance.
“We can absorb the $26,000 but an additional $480,000 is a different task to do,” Burk said of the combined amount of the $26,000 and the payments on the new bonds.
At that point Street explained the philosophy behind using tax dollars rather than reserves to pay for the water treatment plant.
“Our policy has been for the next 20 years those who are going to benefit (from the water treatment plant) should pay for it,” Street said.
Taking money for the facility from reserves would put the burden on people in the Village now rather than those who will benefit during the life of the bonds, according to Burk.
When Burk presented the proposed levy Nov. 26, the amount of debt service from the bonds was unknown with the sale scheduled today.
A complete breakdown and analysis of the proposed levy is available on Deerfield’s website. A final vote is scheduled at the Board’s Dec. 17 meeting.
In other action, the Board unanimously passed the Village’s first composting ordinance easing some of the restrictions suggested at its Nov. 19 meeting by Trustees Mary Oppenheim and Tom Jester.