Jacksonville City Council Tables Tax Levy until Last December Meeting

By Ali Pyle on November 24, 2020 at 3:59pm

The City of Jacksonville appears to have some conflicts about how they should levy taxes for the upcoming year. The first reading of the 2020 tax levy was scheduled last night. City Clerk Skip Bradshaw read the amounts for separate funding allocations under the city’s governance. Bradshaw indicated that the city would be following the Consumer Price Index for cost of living increase at 2.3%, which was something brought up at the previous meeting by Alderman Steve Warmowski. 

Warmowski took exception to the amount after he noted that the city would be receiving a $66,000 increase to its general fund.

Warmowski then asked for two months to amend the first reading to decrease the general fund amount of the tax levy, and with doing rough figures the amount was determined to be approximately 1.4%. The motion failed 7-2. Warmowski then asked for a second amendment to move the 2.3% levy down to exactly 1.4%, and the motion failed again 5-3. 

Ward Three Alderman Brandon Adams then made his own amendment: “Isn’t that kind of the point to vote on the property tax levy when we know the amount that we need to achieve first. I mean this is what I was asking Adam: aren’t we putting the cart before the horse by saying we’re going to raise taxes, and then we can alter budgets, and then we say here’s how much we need. All I’m saying is, I move to postpone the tax levy question until the last December council meeting when we can have more departments budgets and understand the situation we’re in a little bit further.” 

The motion to table the first reading of the tax levy until the final December city council meeting passed 7-2. Mayor Andy Ezard and City Attorney Dan Beard say the levy will have to have an emergency clause so that the levy can meet statute and pass before the law-required due date.