Vermilion County Board members have signed off on their first property tax hike in six years. Tuesday night’s 17-to-7 vote means the levy goes up by 3.6 percent over last year.
Republican County Board Chair Gary Weinard said the increase is necessary to restore reserve funds used to operate the county jail facilities and juvenile detention center.
“Fortunately when we started, basically six years ago, we had some pretty reasonable fund balances," he said. "And we’ve just spent those down to where it’s now time to look at putting some revenue back in those line items. I understand the school district’s dilemma, it’s exactly the same dilemma that we have. We’re trying to be as efficient as we can.”
But those who opposed the plan, including Democrat Mike Dodge, said residents can expect to see increases on other portions of their tax bill, and they’ll start to add up.
“It seems as though the (Danville) school district and everyone is raising their levies," he said. "They say it’s only a couple dollars here, and a couple dollars there. You put them all together, that adds up to be a little bit more on one person’s back.”
Another 'no' vote came from former board chair and Democrat Jim McMahon, who said hiking property taxes could start to reverse the trend of positive economic news, noting new Meijer’s and T.J. Maxx Stores that have come to Danville, and new car dealer locating in Tilton.
McMahon says taxing residents to build up reserves is the equivalent of putting those funds in a bank, so the county has them when needed.
Vermilion County’s tax increase would mean an additional $5.60 for someone with a $1,000 tax bill.