The village of Forest Park is proposing a 4.5 percent increase in the total village levy amount over last year, and the library fund is proposing a 5 percent increase for the fiscal year, beginning May 1, 2019 and ending April 30, 2020. For the village, this will bring in an estimated overall 4.6 percent increase of $346,911 over last year.

Forest Park, which is a non-home rule entity, is subject to the (Property Tax Extension Limitation Law) PTELL, which states that the levy is limited to 5 percent or the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less. For 2019, CPI is 1.9 percent.

However, municipalities can also capture to full assessed value of new construction and often ask for in excess of the CPI in order to do so. Cook County will likely ratchet down the village’s levy request next year when the value of new construction is known.

In the end, Forest Park’s actual levy is likely to be closer to the CPI’s 1.9 percent. 

In the 2019 levy is a provision allowing for greater employer pension contributions to the Firefighter’s Pension Fund. This year’s amount is $144,253 and is not subject to the PTELL cap. 

The levy estimate for 2019 for the village is $5,869,551, and the levy estimate for the library is $1,966,938. Including both village and library, the total property taxes extended or abated for 2018 were $7,489,578. The estimated total property taxes to be levied for 2019 are $7,836,489, which represents a 4.6 percent increase over the previous year.

Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), social security, and fire and police pensions account for 51 percent, more than half of the total village levy amount, although the IMRF fund collection will decrease by 2.9 percent and the Social Security fund by 4.4 percent, while the police pension and fire pension levy amounts will both increase by 1.1 percent.

Property tax dollars are used for many other expenses, either in full or in part, including: salaries in all departments, including the mayor’s salary at $30,000, police and fire department management and officer salaries, Community Center salaries, $10,000 for each of the four commissioners, and a portion of forestry expenses in the village.

A public hearing to approve the levy increase will be held on Monday, Dec. 16 at 6:45 p.m. in the Council Chambers of Village Hall at 517 Desplaines Ave. If approved, the levy must then be filed with the County Clerk no later than Dec. 31.

The County will then decide whether the levy amounts will be honored.