Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2009, 10:08 pm

Silvis approves higher tax levy

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By Seth Kabala,

SILVIS-- Alderman Tuesday approved a 4.9 percent increase in the tax levy for the next fiscal year.

The new levy of $1,150,300, about $55,000 more than last year's levy of $1,096,085, will raise the municipal portion of the property tax bill for the owner of a $100,000 home by about $10.

Finance committee chairman Ald. Barb Fox, 2nd Ward, said the increase was due mainly to more funding needed for the city's contribution to the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, up from 7 percent to 10 percent. The city also has increased contributions to the police department pension fund separate from IMRF, but actual figures were unavailable.

The higher levy also is needed because state payments to the city are at least three months behind, she said. While income tax and sales tax payments make up a large portion of the missing funds, the state's fiscal problems have caused it to be behind on "pretty much any and all payments," Ald. Fox said.

Aldermen also voted 6-1 to ban smoking in most public city spaces and workspaces, with Ald. Matthew Carter, 2nd Ward, casting what he called "pretty much a protest vote." He said that, although he believes all government institutions should comply with the state law, private businesses should decide smoking policies on their own.

Ald. Dan Grafton, 4th Ward, on Tuesday also tendered his resignation, effective Dec. 28, when he will join the Muscatine Police Department. As a condition of his employment, he must live in Iowa.

An alderman for just eight months, Ald. Grafton said getting to meet "a lot of great people" was the greatest benefit he received from the job. Mayor Bill Fox will appoint his replacement.