Monday, May 14, 2007
sponsored by Graue Inc. & Illini Bank

Some good news for county coffers

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[May 14, 2007]  Logan County Board members learned at their work session on Thursday that there will be approximately $51,000 more coming in from property taxes this year. The county finance committee learned of the anticipated increase from Logan County Assessor Rosanne Brosamer and County Clerk Sally Litterly at that morning's finance meeting. The increase is attributed mostly to the recent new business and home building, particularly the addition of Sysco.

The assessor's office finished the land values abstract on April 25, Brosamer said. It looks like the overall tax dollars are up about $8,130,000 equalized assessed value over last year's figures, she said. The county gets a portion of that figure.

The figures went from the assessor's office to the Illinois Department of Revenue and into the hands of Litterly and Andy Lascody, financial consultant for the county.

Litterly said that she and Lascody were cautious in their work. The county's share could have been up to $61,000. "Looks like we'll be $10,000 shy of what we could have got, but Andy and I worked hard to get the maximum amount that would fit," Litterly said.

The state will supply a certified multiplier to proceed, which is expected by Wednesday. Several other steps take place locally, and then tax bills can be sent out.

Geoff Ladd, director of the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County, had more good news. The bureau gets much of its financing out of the county's portion of hotel-motel taxes, and those are up 22 percent in March.

Ladd commented that the new Wal-Mart Supercenter project seems to be helping spur some of the activity.

He also told the finance committee meeting that the bureau is still doing well with its expenses and keeping some backup money in the bank.

Last year Holiday Inn was in process of remodeling 50 percent of its rooms, and that severely affected the tax revenue. Finance chair Chuck Ruben succinctly pointed out that a hotel doesn't usually renovate just half its rooms, and Holiday Inn would probably be getting around to the other half; tourism would want to make certain their savings buffer takes this into account.

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City and county officials collaboratively stepped out of their comfort zones the past couple of years in financing some high-cost infrastructure to bring much-desired and needed economic growth. The results of those investments are now starting to be seen in the form of increased property values, incomes and sales taxes. The hope now is that the revenues will keep up with or exceed costs during the payback time.

On another matter, the finance committee said that they have been getting some calls about the $60,000 being spent with Clifton Gunderson. Clifton Gunderson is the accounting company that the county has chosen to work on the next audit. The money being paid to them is for the next audit and is not for the delayed 2005 audit that is still in process with Crowe Chizek.

The audit by Crowe Chizek is still not complete, and there was no further prediction on when it would be done. The treasurer's office and consultants are still trying to rectify the problems, which were primarily caused by double computer entries and the like.

The board tentatively approved tax anticipation notes in the amount of $300,000 to help with cash shortages, as things are expected to get tight until property taxes come in.

Ruben announced tongue-in-cheek, "You'll be happy to know that tax bills will be coming out close to on time, within a week of the start of July."

[Jan Youngquist]

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