Monmouth City Council passes increased property tax levy

Aldermen for the City of Monmouth passed their annual property tax levy at their meeting on Monday night.

The tax levy is an increase of 3.96 percent from last year at $2,321,000. That equates to an estimated $2.87 per $100 of assessed property value. Last year’s tax levy was $2,229,555.

City Administrator, Lew Steinbrecher, tells WGIL that not only is the increase in the property tax levy is going to paying the city’s pension obligation but so is a portion of the levy that would have gone to the city’s general fund.

“Some of the property tax revenues, that were used to support general city government operations, we had to take $20,000 out of that and move it over into the police and fire pension funds.”

Steinbrecher says that with money coming out of the general fund to cover the pension obligation payments takes away money that could be used for capital improvements or services for the city.

“It’s taking money away from capital improvements. So, you have less money to do street repairs or improve your water or wastewater systems. It also takes away certain services.”

Steinbrecher says those services include fewer people in the finance, zoning, or public works departments.

With the growing pension obligation now taking up 68.4 percent of the city’s property tax levy, Steinbrecher says that the pension funds are not sustainable and taking funds away from other government operations.

He says that the state’s consolidation of pensions may help but what is really needed is pension reform.

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