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State affecting levy

Mount Vernon Register News

Tuesday, December 5, 2017  |  Article  |  By TESA GLASS

Budget--State (8) , Fire Marshal, fire, fire fighters (84) , Local Government (60) , Pensions (70) , Police (28)
MT. VERNON — A proposed tax levy ordinance is subject to change after requirements for pension levies is received from the State.

"We haven't received the amount of deposit we need to make from the state of Illinois for two of our largest funds, which is the Firefighter Pension Fund and the Police Pension Fund," explained City Manager Mary Ellen Bechtel. "Just know that we are having a timing problem on this. We sat today and looked at it and if we don't get these numbers in the next few days, we may just have to pass this on the estimate and figure out if it comes in adverse, what we have to do about making a deposit from other funds."

Each year the state sends municipalities the amounts required for deposit of pension liabilities. Bechtel explained the State of Illinois hired a new actuary to determine the amounts, who is behind in notifying municipalities. City Finance Director Merle Hollmann said he will be checking daily for the actual amounts required, however, he has been told the amounts will be posted by Monday, Dec. 11.

"The Firefighter's Pension and Police Pension those are estimated the same as last year, I just put those numbers in," Hollmann told members of the City Council on Monday. "It's really hard to tell what that levy will be. The one good thing, one of the good things is, we had a really good year last year as far as investment returns. The levy is a product of several things — one the investment returns our funds made, and those were good for the year ending April 30 ... It's also based on how many retirees we have and their ages; it's based on our disabled firefighters and policemen and their ages; and then of course, we have widows and some children on this as well."

At this time, the other fund levies were rounded off, making the entire levy well under the 5 percent that triggers a Truth in Taxation hearing. However, Bechtel cautioned that the numbers could change.

"For a frame of reference, as long as these pension numbers don't come in more than $130,000 or an eight-and-a-half percent increase, we'll be under 5 percent," Bechtel said. "If it comes in more than $130,000, there are some decisions the council will have to make. Truth in taxation for going over the 5 percent or finding other ways to make that deposit."