WOOD RIVER — The Wood River City Council approved the 2014-2015 fiscal year tax levy at the regularly scheduled meeting Monday, the lowest tax levy the city has seen since 2009.
Wood River Finance Director Tracy Kennett submitted the amount of $2,082,235 to the council, about $35,000 less than last year’s levy. In 2013-2014 the levy in Wood River rose to $2,117,403 because of state-required contributions to the fire and police fund.
“The lower tax levy is due to the decrease in the fire pension,” Kennett said. “We were able to keep the other taxes basically the same. Only a few things increased slightly, but the bulk majority of the decrease is due to the fire pension, which we can pass that on to the taxpayers — investments have done really well.”
Wood River residents are not expected to see a major change in their taxes in the next fiscal year because of a decrease in the city’s equalized assessed value (EAV).
“The EAV dropped for the city by about $1.5 million, so we expect about 1.6 percent,” Kennett said. “We really expect the tax rate will be about the same, perhaps a very minimal decrease. We expected the drop in the EAV by about $1.5 million to $1.8 million. We kept the rate virtually the same so the taxpayers won’t see much of a change; however, the city will see less money.”
The council also approved an 0.02 percent levy increase for the Wood River Library, resulting in the amount of $23,100.
“This is a yearly planned increase for the public library,” Kennett said. “Due to the EAV, they are actually receiving a little less money, a difference of about $300.”
The council also voted to approve an ordinance establishing an enterprise zone within the city as well as authorize the execution of an intergovernmental agreement between Madison County, the cities of Wood River and Alton, and the villages of Bethalto, East Alton, Roxana, Hartford and South Roxana.
“We approved the enterprise zone and the intergovernmental agreement to make our region more appealing to incoming business,” City Council member Scott Miner said. “We think it will be beneficial to work as a region to support one another to bring jobs to the area rather than just compete. If one of our neighboring towns were to bring in a new business, our town will benefit as well because those employees who work locally will patronize our businesses as well.”
Breakfast with Santa will take place from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Wood River Roundhouse. Families will have the opportunity to enjoy breakfast with the big man from the North Pole and enjoy pancakes, sausage links, juice, milk and coffee. A photo with Santa is available for a small additional charge. Children’s price is $3 and adult tickets are $4.
Sports and activity registration will be a little easier for busy working parents in the next year. The Wood River Park and Recreation Department is implementing online registration for events and plans to have the new system operational by the spring sports season.
“We know that parents work hours that may not allow them to get to the Roundhouse before 5 p.m. to register their kids,” Park and Recreation manager Fred Slow said. “We want to make it easier for parents and guardians to get the kids active. We hope to have it ready by spring.”
The city of Wood River holds a council meeting at 7 p.m. on the first and third Monday of the month. Meetings are open to the public and a sign-in sheet is available for residents who wish to speak with the council.