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Aldermen OK Aurora tax levy

Updated: January 20, 2013 6:33AM

AURORA — Aldermen voted to pass the 2013 city tax levy by a nearly unanimous vote Tuesday night.

As he did with the 2013 budget last week, Alderman Rick Lawrence, 4th Ward, voted against the tax levy in the 10-1 vote.

City Finance Director Brian Caputo said the total city tax levy, including the library tax levy, will increase 2.3 percent.

The city’s portion of a resident’s tax bill is 19 percent. In 2005, the city’s portion of the a resident’s tax bill was 22 percent. In 2005, a school district was about 57 percent of a resident’s tax bill; today, a school district accounts for about 60 percent of that tax bill, Caputo said. “We are a smaller portion of the bill over time,” Caputo said. “So the impact that the taxpayers feel from the city versus some other taxing districts is smaller in a relative sense.”

The city’s general fund levy in 2013 is slightly lower than it was in 2005, according to city records. The increase in the tax levy can be attributed to capital costs associated with the building of a new main library branch and rising pension costs.

“If (Equalized Assessed Value) stays the same or goes down, the (tax) rate will go up,” Caputo said.

Lawrence said the city’s residents are paying more taxes on homes that are worth less.

“If you’re trying to be competitive with other cities, it’s a concern,” Lawrence said. “I’ll speak for the West Side. We’re at a point where the taxes that you are paying on your home... it’s becoming an issue to live there.”

City Chief of Staff Carie Anne Ergo said comparing municipal tax rates out of context can be misleading. “The reality is the City of Aurora has held the line on taxes and provides an excellent value to our residents for the services it provides,” Ergo said.

Alderman Bob O’Connor, At-large, said that while the property tax portion of city revenues is decreasing, the city is observing an increase in other revenue streams.

“At the same time, we’re trying to get new businesses in Aurora, resulting in some new income,” O’Connor said.

The increase in the tax levy because of the library was previously heavily debated and “is a legitimate part of the community’s growth,” O’Connor said.

Under the proposed $369 million budget, which aldermen approved last week, spending increases in 2013 by 2 percent over the 2012 budget.

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