• Discussions are under way for next month’s vote on whether the village will reduce the tax levy, and if so, by how much.
During a regularly scheduled board meeting on Nov. 18, the Village Board debated the issue. Trustees Sarah Johnes and Eldon Williams and Mayor Mike McCormick were open to a 10 percent reduction.
“We have one of the lowest tax levies (in the area), and the business district is growing; we have a nice cushion there … and I only see the village getting better with more businesses and more people being happy with this community,” Johnes said. “I see no reason why we can’t continue to reduce the burden on the taxpayers by lowering the levy again.”
Johnes said Godfrey Township’s (separate from the Village of Godfrey) 4.9 percent increase in the property tax levy could be balanced some by a drop in the village’s levy.
Trustee Mike Stumpf says the levy should remain the same as last year to avoid the possibility of a drop in services the community can expect. Trustees Jeff Weber and Jerry Gibson agreed a conservative approach would be wise.
In the end, Trustee Mark Stewart suggested a compromise of a 5 percent drop in the tax levy, and the board agreed to bring that ordinance to the next meeting for a vote.
“(That way), we could continue in the direction we are going, and at the same time look at the projects in the coming year and get some hard numbers together,” Stewart said. “When we did the business district, our goal was to ensure that development benefitted residents with jobs, better opportunities to shop, etc. and kept some of our sales tax at home and would let us reduce taxes. Maybe we could see that play out on its own, and everybody could be happy all the way around.”
The levy has been reduced for the last five years. In 2012 and 2013, the levy was reduced by 5 percent, and by 10 percent in 2011. The current tax levy is about $462,000.
• The village has assigned a committee for Climate Protection and Energy Efficiency. The committee is part of the Cool Cities effort sponsored by the Sierra Club to help Godfrey advance the goal of reducing greenhouse gases at the municipal level and work to find other ways to become more environmentally friendly.
• An early snow in 2014 has local municipalities looking hard at their salt supply. Godfrey Director of Maintenance Jim Lewis says he is concerned the village does not have a secondary salt supply source for the first time, due to a lack of abundance and availability on the part of suppliers.
The village currently has 1,200 tons of salt and used a minimal amount on this month’s snow. Lewis said a normal winter will use about 1,200 tons, and last winter the village used 2,500 tons.
The village has about $5,000 budgeted for salt. Trustee Jeff Weber assured Lewis the Village Board will make salt supply a priority and will ensure the street department has the funds needed.