EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County will place a referendum on the November election ballot giving voters an opportunity to lower a portion of its property tax levy.
The County Board voted 25-1 Wednesday night to place the binding referendum on the Nov. 3 ballot. Voters will be asked, “Shall the maximum tax rate for general county purposes of Madison County, Illinois, be established at 0.18 percent of the equalized assessed value of the taxable property therein instead of 0.20 percent, the maximum rate otherwise applicable to the next taxes to be extended?”
Chairman Kurt Prenzler put the resolution before the Finance Committee on June 10, which unanimously passed it.
“This is the county’s way in helping taxpayers,” Prenzler said. “We feel we are doing our part in county government with everything going on right now.”
He said this marks the second time in four years taxpayers have been given the opportunity to vote on a reduction in their taxes. In 2016, a referendum to cut property taxes was placed on the ballot and voters approved it.
Board members discussed the measure prior to voting, stating how property values could drop in the future and create a shortfall in funds. They said there could be increases for cost of living allowances, insurance, retirement benefits, emergency repairs for roads and bridges, as well as other unexpected expenses, and need to make sure the funds are covered.
Some board members said the amount saved by taxpayers would be minimal at best.
“(Taxpayers) might not save much, but think what could happen if each local government did this,” Republican Board member Chris Guy of Maryville said. “Just because (government) can raise the tax rate, doesn’t mean we should.”
Republican County Board member David Michael of Highland said that while he understands some of the concerns raised, taxpayers should be allowed to vote on the issue.
“This only affects the General Fund,” Michael said. “The other funds (IMRF, Highway, Bridge, etc.) are not affected at all. The primary thing that this board is doing is allowing voters an opportunity to make a decision about their own taxes.”
Democratic challenger Daiber calls for real property tax relief, not rhetoric
Bob Daiber, Democratic candidate for Madison County Board Chair, issued the following statement after passage of Chairman Kurt Prenzler’s resolution:
“Passage of today’s property tax resolution by the County Board confirms again that Kurt Prenzler is failing to deliver real property tax reform for Madison County,” said Bob Daiber. “While this resolution would lower the maximum rate the County can levy for the general fund from .20 to .18 per $100 of assessed value, The Telegraph noted on June 10th that this resolution ‘would not result in any real savings for taxpayers next year’ because the County’s current levy is .163 per $100 of assessed value.”
“It is clear this is just another political stunt to aid Kurt Prenzler’s struggling re-election campaign,” stated Daiber. “Prenzler used this same campaign message in 2016 to fool taxpayers into believing he was going to reduce their tax levy by 10 percent. If he was serious about helping taxpayers, Prenzler would have kept his word and reduced the levy to .15 just as he promised in his 2016 campaign.”
Daiber continued, “It is easy to make political promises to get elected, but it is a whole lot more difficult to deliver solid policy change. As Chairman, I’ll focus on the work necessary to achieve real results for taxpayers, not on political headlines. That’s why, in the coming weeks, I’ll be releasing a detailed plan to provide real relief to taxpayers.”
“As we struggle with the economic consequences of a global pandemic, we need more than lip service from our elected officials,” said Daiber. “If Kurt Prenzler wasn’t so distracted by the scandals and corruption of his administration, he would have time to focus on delivering real property tax reform, not just rhetoric,” said Daiber.