Updated: March 16, 2013 6:14AM
Naperville Township voted Tuesday night to reduce the township’s reserve fund and abate half a million dollars back to taxpayers, after the rejection of an earlier proposal to abate $1 million.
Residents should anticipate a 26 percent reduction in the Naperville Township town fund portion of their next tax bill. On a $400,000 residence, a Naperville Township homeowner pays about $70 to the town fund and $40 to the township road district.
An earlier proposal to donate the funds to a charitable organization was not addressed after Trustee David Wentz questioned the legality of donating taxpayer monies to private organizations at an earlier board meeting.
Naperville Township Supervisor Gary Vician’s initial proposal to abate $1 million back to taxpayers was rejected by Township Trustees Esin Busche, David Wentz and May Yurgaitis. Trustee Fred Spitzzeri voted in favor of the proposal.
Subsequently, Trustee Wentz proposed a lower abatement amount of $500,000 which passed by a three-to-two vote.
“I think it is the fiscally responsible thing to do,” he said.
Wentz recommended the lower amount to ensure a “responsible abatement leaving the new board in good stead without a concern that we are not doing enough for the taxpayers or social service organizations in our community.”
The Naperville Township proposed budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year is just more than $2 million. This includes a substantial increase in the social services fund from $190,000 to $355,000.
The township’s coffers have grown during the last several years due, in part, to the elimination of the debt on the township building as part of the 2011-2012 budget, Vician said. He said being frugal with expenditures, such as insurance, also has helped.
“In addition, the 20-year Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement on the Cantera property ended, which increased the township’s revenues,” Vician said.
“It makes sense to abate $1 million,” Vician said. “The township would still have $700,000 in reserves, which gives us plenty of operating money until the township receives its tax money of approximately $900,000 in June.”
Otherwise, the purpose of such a large carry-over could come under question, he added.
Vician said that township’s operating budget each month is between $130,000 and $150,000 and recommended that the township retain about six month’s operating expenses in reserve.
Years ago, governments would keep money in reserves in cases of an emergency, but now there is no need for that, Vician said. Before FEMA was set up, townships used to be the main source of fund in emergency situations, but that is no longer the case, he added.
Trustees Busche and Yurgaitis both favored retaining enough reserves for at least one year of operating expenses.
“I favor keeping between four to six months of operating expenses,” Trustee Spitzzeri said.
Warren Dixon, the outgoing Naperville Township assessor and non-voting member of the township, questioned the need for the abatement.
“If we budget $2,085,200 for the next year, we are not going to have enough revenue to cover what we budgeted,” he said.