City Council Looking at Same or Lower Tax Rate


Published on October 19 2021 7:55 pm
Last Updated on October 19 2021 7:55 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Effingham city council members Tuesday discussed a tax rate the same or lower than this past year.

The discussion followed a presentation by City Administrator Steve Miller of three options...a 1% increase in the rate, no increase, and a 1% decrease in the rate. The estimate is that a 1% decrease in the rate equates to approximately $42,000 in property tax revenue.

Increases in revenues from other sources led council members to consider a break in the property tax rate. Some were vocal in their support for dropping the rate. Mayor Mike Schutzbach said, "I guess we can forget the increase". City Commissioner Hank Stephens also is supportive of a decrease in the rate, saying, "We are not supposed to spend everything we can". 

Commissioner Merv Gillenwater was a little more cautious, saying, "I'd like to stay where we are. We don't want to lower the rate, things go wrong, and then we have to come back and ask for even more". 

More work on the levy is expected at the next Council meeting, with the possibility that the rate could be finalized then. 

The Council discussed an agreement with John Boos and Company involving improvements that would benefit the company and the City. Under the proposal, John Boos would build and maintain a retention basin for storm water until the City has the neighboring land developed. The City would install the pipe involved in the project, and would sell 3-1/2 acres of property to John Boos. 


John Boos President Joe Emmerich told the Council that the project would help facilitate the 90,000 square foot expansion of the company's metal plant and one main shipping point for the operation. The City would be benefitted by the plant's expansion and resulting job growth, as well as improving access to the large tract of land acquired by the City just north of the Boos plant. 

The Council discussed an agreement with Milano and Grunloh Engineers for work to extend Ford Avenue to 4th Street, but by angling the Ford extension north as well as east to finalize the intersection of Rickelman and 4th along with Ford. The engineering is estimated to cost just shy of $90,000.

Also discussed was a purchase of property that would finalize land holdings of the City, Kabbes Development, Griffith Trucking and Keller Enterprises in the area near Griffith Trucking. Miller explained that there is an eight-foot gap in the property. Purchases have been finalized with Kabbes and Griffith, but need to be finalized with Keller.

In items subject to a vote Tuesday, the Council rezoned the property at 315 South 1st and at the corner of Willow and Fayette from light industrial to general commercial. The tract is the former home of John Boos and Company and is now entirely zoned for commercial development. Homewood Grill has plans for a new building at the location. Also rezoned were lots at 809 and 811 Franklin Avenue from single family residential to neighborhood shopping district. The lots will be used for parking for Kemper CPA Group. The Council also approved three small plats, one on North Lakewood Drive in Rollin Hills Subdivision, one for the FedEx Ground operation on Heartland Boulevard, and one that creates four commercial lots bounded by Jefferson Avenue, Washington Avenue, 1st Street and 2nd Street.

The Council also voted to install a stop sign at West Flamingo and North Penguin and to install a stop sign at West Flamingo and North Main. The decision follows lobbying by residents of that area who have raised concerns over traffic speeds through the area. Gillenwater voted No, saying he didn't see enough evidence that the stop signs were needed and that the action might prompt others to seek similar relief. The other four Council members voted for the action, with Schutzbach saying that putting in the stop signs there might push vehicles passing through the area over to the collector street, where the City wants through traffic to go anyway.