NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARINGTruth in TaxationNotice of Proposed Property Tax IncreaseFor Mercer County, Illinois

Notice of Truth in Taxation Hearing — Proposed Property Tax Increase for Mercer County Illinois

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING — Truth in Taxation

Notice of Proposed Property Tax Increase for Mercer County, Illinois

Notice is hereby given that a public hearing to receive public input on a proposed property tax increase for Mercer County for the fiscal year 2018 will be held on November 1st, 2017 at 6:00 PM at the Aledo VFW, 106 SW 3rd Ave, Aledo, Illinois.

The corporate and special purpose property taxes extended or abated for 2017 were $2,949,688. The proposed corporate and special purpose property taxes to be levied 2018 are $3,260,741. This represents a 10.55% increase over the previous year.

The property taxes extended for Public Building Commission leases for 2017 were $981,077. The estimated property taxes to be levied for Public Building Commission leases for 2018 are $1,075,253. This represents a 9.6% increase over the previous year.

The total property taxes extended or abated for 2017 were $3,930,765. The estimated total property taxes to be levied for 2018 are $4,404,493. The sum of all residential, commercial, industrial and farmland assessment represents a 12.05% increase in levied property taxes over the previous year.

Any person, or agency representative, desiring to appear at the public hearing and present testimony to the taxing district may contact County Clerk Sara Blazer at the Mercer County Clerk’s Office or by telephone (309) 582-7021 or may register their desire to appear at least 15 minutes prior to the hearing at the location of the hearing.

Time allotted for the presentation of testimony will be limited to three (3) minutes per the standard practices of the Mercer County Board.

Written testimony may also be submitted in writing to the County Clerk, and will be entered into the record of the hearing.

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Mercer County Resolution of Fiscal Emergency

Mercer County Resolution of Fiscal Emergency

WHEREAS Mercer County is a properly organized and incorporated body politic in the State of Illinois;

WHEREAS Mercer County has the legal authority to levy property taxes and receive funds from various sources including, but not limited to, State of Illinois local distributions of income tax revenue, sales tax revenue, and reimbursements related to various specific programs and positions under the oversight of the Mercer County Board or other duly elected or appointed Mercer County Officials; and

WHEREAS the Mercer County Board along with duly elected or appointed county officials have authority granted in State Statute to establish and adjust user fees for specific services intended to pay for the cost of those services; and

WHEREAS Mercer County is obligated to comply with all applicable provisions of employment law as it relates to public employees; and

WHEREAS the Mercer County Board acknowledges financial conditions that are indications and proof of a financial emergency including:

1. The Mercer County board’s 2015 appropriations ordinance did not provide funding for

a. The Salary of the County Engineer and other Motor Fuel Tax expenses

b. All of the required “step increases” in compensation for represented employees in compliance with labor agreements

c. Required payments for interest or principle reduction for the County’s operating line of credit

d. The likely settlement of three expired bargaining unit contracts and all costs associated with the likely settlements

e. Other expenses to be paid from various funds

2. Mercer County does not maintain an unencumbered fund balance sufficient to manage county business without incurring short term debt for the purpose of maintaining County operations

3. In recent years, including the current fiscal year, Mercer County has been unable to meet its legal and contractual obligations to make payments to creditors, including the Mercer County Public Building Commission.

4. The historic growth in the cost of labor and benefits have exceeded the economic growth of Mercer County in general as well as the County’s legal ability or desire to raise taxes to meet the rising costs

5. In recent years financial obligations have been funded by selling County assets or through inter-fund borrowing and transfers, which is no longer an available financial strategy

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNTY BOARD OF MERCER COUNTY, ILLINOIS:

The Mercer County Board hereby declares that Mercer County Government is in a period of Financial Emergency. As a result, the Mercer County Board resolves to embark on the following efforts.

1. Continue self-evaluative projects in each department of County Government with the established goals, in priority order:

a. Reducing non-staff related costs.

b. Identifying potential new sources or increases in revenue.

c. Identify opportunities for operational efficiencies by implementing best practices.

2. Evaluate options to normalize the cost of employee benefits without reducing the value of benefits.

3. Direct the Finance Committee to review the 2015 appropriation ordinance and the 2015 overall budget to identify and recommend specific budget amendments to address omissions that should have been included in the 2015 appropriation ordinance and 2015 budget.

4. Direct the Finance Committee to review the 2015 appropriation ordinance and the 2015 overall budget to identify issues in process and end product that should be addressed in the 2016 budget process.

5. Direct the Finance Committee to recommend to the full board a 2016 budget policy to be presented to the full board no later than the regular meeting of the board in August, 2015

6. Direct the various oversight committees of the County Board to work with Countywide elected officials and appointed department heads to intentionally evaluate the need for replacement hiring as vacancies occur

7. Direct the various oversight committees of the County Board to work with Countywide elected officials and appointed department heads to identify specific services that are not critical to the health and welfare of the residents of Mercer County and are not mandated by law. Identified services should be cataloged including the cost of providing the service, and submitted to the entire board no later than the regular September 2015 board meeting for consideration in the 2016 budget.

ADOPTED in special session of the Mercer County Board this 3rd day of April, 2015

THE COUNTY BOARD OF MERCER COUNTY, ILLINOIS

BY:___________________________________

Brian Anseeuw, Chairman

BY: ___________________________________

Phyllis Bewley, County Clerk

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You Decide — Is It Balanced?

Attending the Mercer County Board meetings for the past year has been a good learning experience. Here’s a short, but important lesson we learned. Last week our county board passed the 2015 budget (6 Democrats voted yes; 4 Republicans voted no). The six Democrat board members insisted that the budget was “balanced.” During the open comment session it was pressed to have them confirm that it was indeed balanced.

You decide. Did the Democrat-controlled Mercer County Board pass a balanced 2015 budget? What does “balanced” mean to you?

Is a budget “balanced” if no consideration is taken for a $700,000 debt, beyond paying the monthly interest payments?