City of Decatur revenue projections worsen and property tax rate increases
The Decatur City Council will have its next meeting on Monday, June 15 at 5:30 PM. There will be 13 items on the agenda ranging from rezoning of properties to amending the city code. Of significance will be the monthly Treasurer’s Report which includes the projected financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and reports on the 2020 property tax rate.
$5.69 MILLION REVENUE SHORTFALL IS PROJECTED
The city of Decatur’s revenue projections worsened slightly since last month. In May, the city projected a revenue shortfall in the general fund of $5.42 million. According to this month’s Treasurer’s Report, the city is now projecting a shortfall of $5.69 million. While the shortfall is considerable, the city’s cash reserve, possible delay of planned capital expenditures, and other measures allow us to withstand the economic challenges, at least in the short-term.
As of the end of May, the city’s cash position in the general fund is $8 million, providing a 41-day cash reserve. Year to date, we have a deficit of $381,000. Revenue is down 8.6% from projections while expenses are down 5.3%. May was the first month to show a significant economic impact to the COVID-19 pandemic with a monthly revenue shortfall of 28% relative to projections ($1.8 million).
Last month, the city council discussed delaying planned capital expenditures with many departments outlining projects that could be easily deferred, projects where delay was possible, and projects that should move forward. Through this process, the city identified $6.4 million in spending for which projects were easily deferred ($2.5 million) or for which delay was possible ($3.9 million).
PROPERTY TAX RATE INCREASES SLIGHTLY
The Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) of all properties in Decatur in 2019 increased to $832,843,703 compared to $824,544,671 in 2018, an increase of $8,299,032 (1.0%). Property tax rates for the city’s portion of overall property taxes also increased (note: the city of Decatur’s portion of one’s total property tax bill is ~16%). The property tax rate for tax payable in 2020 is 1.70346% compared to the prior year’s rate of 1.68302%.
There are multiple reasons for the property tax rate increase. In its deliberations last year, the city council projected EAV to increase $13.3 million due to 500 property annexations. Instead, the city annexed 216 properties for which the EAV increased ~$6 million. In addition, while EAV of residential (2.1%) and farm properties (11.9%) increased, EAV of commercial (-0.2%), industrial (-0.9%), and railroad properties (-9.2%) decreased. Given the significant investment that has been made to infrastructure in recent years, the steep drop in the assessed value of railroad properties (resulting in nearly $1.5 million less in assessed value) was not predicted.
CITIZENS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK TO CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS – If you would like to discuss an issue with a city council member, phone numbers and e-mail addresses for each council member can be found at the following link: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council/. More information about public comments and citizen participation is below.
AGENDAS FOR CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE - An agenda to each city council meeting can be found at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council-meetings/.
YOU CAN WATCH THE MEETING ON THE CITY’S WEBSITE OR GOVERNMENT CHANNEL 18 - For those that do plan to attend the meeting in person, meetings take place at the City Council Chamber located on the third floor of the Decatur Civic Center (1 Gary K. Anderson Place). Free parking is available in the lot immediately south of the entrance.
CITIZEN PARTICIPATION AT THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING WILL BE MODIFIED DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC – As per the city council packet: “Pursuant to Governor Pritzker's Executive Order 2020-07 suspending the requirements of the Illinois Open Meetings Act requiring in-person attendance by members of a public body for the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, members of the Decatur City Council and senior staff will be participating in this meeting through a Zoom video and audio link. The Mayor and essential members of the City staff will be physically present in the City Council Chambers, and pursuant to Governor's Executive Order No. 2020-10 and CDC guidelines, no more than ten (10) people will be allowed in the City Council Chambers at any one time. ... The City Council Chambers will be open to those wishing to personally attend through the normal public entrance on the west side of the Chambers, but no more than ten (10) people may be in the chambers at any one time, social distancing rules will be observed, and audience members must sit in the rear half of the seating area to create a separation zone between public seating and the in-person city participants of the meeting. The podium for Appearance of Citizens has been moved to the rear of the chamber. Persons arriving after ten (10) people have already entered the chambers will be asked to wait in the anteroom of the City Council Chambers where they can watch the live feed and wait until a seat is made available by the departure of one or more of the ten (10) people already in the chamber. Public comments can be emailed in advance of the meeting to the City Clerk at email@example.com, and will be provided to the City Council and others requesting them. Self-produced videos of no more than three minutes that include the name and image of the speaker, will be aired if they are received by the City Clerk by 3:00 pm on the day of the meeting and conform to the council's existing rules.”