Aldermen approve property tax levy ordinance, refuse to pay for GREDF housing study

Troup after property tax levy approval

Quincy Mayor Mike Troup speaks to the media after Monday night's meeting of the Quincy City Council. | David Adam

QUINCY — The Quincy City Council’s unanimous vote on Monday night to approve a $7.112 million annual property tax levy ordinance, creating a tax rate around 96 cents per $100 of assessed value, was called “historic” by Mayor Mike Troup.

The levy is approximately $588,000 less than was collected this year.

Last year’s rate was $1.07. The 11.1 percent rate decrease has been topped just twice in the past 40 years — 2002, when it dropped 13.6 percent, and 1985, when it dropped 12.4 percent. 

“This is a huge win for the taxpayers,” Troup said after the meeting. “I’m proud of it. The reason there’s not so much open discussion tonight … is that this is the third week of talking. There’s been plenty of phone calls, plenty of meetings over the last two weeks talking about this explaining, you know, what is it? Is it a one-year dip? Are we going to be able to sustain it?

“We feel quite confident we can get by with this. … The taxpayers deserve a break.”

The city used $550,000 of its general fund balance to lower the levy from the original estimate of $7.662 million.

Mike Farha, R-4, chairman of the Finance Committee, explained before the vote that “there’s always a misconception” that the property tax bill pays for infrastructure, as well as police and fire salaries.

“But that’s not true,” he said. “It’s not funding the General Fund, which are your streets and sidewalks. It’s not funding positions. It funds (64 percent of) the pension obligation (this year) for the police and fire, which is mandated by the state of Illinois. It funds the libraries and any debt you have. But it doesn’t fund the things people think.

“(The levy reduction is) actually good for the public. It’s good for everyone. I know people have raised some concerns. Why don’t we …? Because we don’t need it. We don’t need to increase it. So Merry Christmas.”

Troup told aldermen a replacement in the 3rd Ward for Parker Freiburg, who resigned Nov. 28 after he accepted a position in his family’s construction company, which would create a conflict because the company does business with the city, could be in place before next week’s meeting. He recently spoke with Dave Bockhold, Adams County Republican Central Committee chairman, as well as precinct committeemen in the ward.

Troup said five or six names were discussed, and three people remain interested.

“We need to have a meeting sometime this week,” he said. “Now we will bring in the finalists to the office, have some other discussion with them about issues and committees to see what level of interest they have, and then we’ll be making a final decision.”

Any appointment by Troup would require approval from the aldermen.

Before a vote to approve the Finance Committee report, Jeff Bergman, R-2, made a motion to remove an invoice to pay $3,500 to the Great River Economic Development Foundation for a study of housing need and demand.

Aldermen tabled on Oct. 18 spending $25,000 on a comprehensive housing study. Bergman was critical after learning the city, Adams County and GREDF had agreed to split the cost.

City Council approval is required for expenses greater than $7,500.

After the rest of the Finance Committee report was approved, John Mast, R-5, made a motion to pay the GREDF housing study bill. It was rejected 8-5. Greg Fletcher, R-1, Dave Bauer, D-2, Kelly Mays, R-3, Tony Sassen, R-4, Mike Rein, R-5, Patty Maples, D-6, Bergman and Farha voted against paying the bill.

“We’re going to have to go back to some other committees and look at getting that dealt with,” Troup said.

In other action, aldermen: 

  • Approved a resolution to pay $8,121 to Tim’s Machine for the repair of a transit bus engine.
  • Approved a resolution to apply for a $24,704.26 state fuel tax reimbursement grant to reimburse certain salary expenses. 
  • Approved a resolution to pay $17,689 to furnish and install two three-phase five-ton air conditioning units from Air Specialists Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.
  • Sent to the Plan Commission a petition by Four Points Land Surveying & Engineering, on behalf of Tom & Kathie Marx, to subdivide (one lot into two lots) property at 3001 Broadway.
  • Approved an ordinance levying taxes for the Historic Quincy Business District, a special service area, beginning May 1, 2022 and ending April 30, 2023.

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