Will County should be able to drop its property tax rate by at least 1.5 percent in the upcoming 2018 budget, said the county board’s finance committee chairman.
“This is even better than a freeze. We’re going down,” said Mike Fricilone, R-Homer Glen, referring to the county’s portion of the property tax bill.
Based on preliminary budget numbers and assessed valuations, the county’s tax rate would be .6058, and “we will push it down from there,” Fricilone said at Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
The “key for us is — obviously it depends on what your house is worth — if our tax rate goes down, potentially our residents save money,” Fricilone said.
The county’s tax rate has gone down in recent years, but as home values increase, it does not always result in reduced tax payments.
Fricilone first proposed a property tax rate freeze one week ago, saying the county “will do what the General Assembly will not do.”
Legislators in Springfield, who grappled over a statewide property tax freeze, passed the new state budget without it, but did include a 32 percent income tax increase.
“No one wants a tax rate increase. I do feel better dropping the rate,” said County board member Herbert Brooks Jr., a Democratic caucus leader from Joliet.
There was very little discussion of Fricilone’s proposal Thursday, and no one voiced opposition to it, but it will be part of upcoming budget discussions this year.
“This (decrease in rate) is the culmination of us doing good work and watching our budget,” said Board Speaker Jim Moustis, R-Frankfort Township.
Fricilone said they review “every one of the 4,000 line items” in the budget and suggested that legislators in Springfield “use this as an example of how to run a cost effective government.”
“We will continue to provide the core services our residents require while holding the line on our spending,” Fricilone said last week. “As elected officials we need to insure every dollar we spend is spent wisely especially in the face of rising costs.”
Brooks said Thursday there are items in the state’s new budget that will benefit Will County, such as getting road construction back on track.