CHICAGO HEIGHTS | The City Council on Dec. 17 approved the property tax levy in the amount of $18,259,032 for the fiscal year May 2012 to April 2013.
For the second consecutive year, the City Council requested a 1.5 percent increase from the previous year.
Treasurer James Dee said the 1.5 percent increase means homeowners with homes appraised at $100,000 will pay about $20 more in property taxes.
The city was able to limit the requested increase to 1.5 percent in part by trimming about $180,000 from the amount levied for the Chicago Heights Public Library compared with the previous year.
"The library fund has just over $1.2 million currently in cash in their fund," Dee said.
Fourth Ward Alderman Joshua Deabel did not agree with cutting money for the library and was the only member of the council to vote against approving the overall levy.
"I'd hate to see the public library funds go down, especially when everything else is going up,' Deabel said. "If we're asking the library to save some money, I think we need to look at all the other purposes, as well."
Mayor David Gonzalez bristled at Deabel's suggestion and told the alderman he had 30 days from the time the preliminary levy was presented that he could have made his concerns known.
"And now you want nickel and diming here on the 11th hour," Gonzalez said.
The mayor said the annual budget for the library is about $1.1 million or $1.2 million.
"It's not fair to the taxpayers that we keep levying more if they're not using it," Gonzalez said. "I don't think the doors are going to be closing at the library because they're losing $179,000."
In other city news, the City Council unanimously approved a bid award of $20,498 to Alliance Demolition to demolish houses at 137 E. 23rd St. and 541 Concord Drive.
"These were two fire-damaged properties," Corporation Counsel T.J. Somer said. "Both present a pretty imminent danger to the community. They need to come down."
Somer said liens will be placed on the properties to recover the demolition costs.