Last month, the City Council adopted a property tax levy of $66,468,834, an increase of 2.75%. This is the lowest property tax increase the Bloomington City Council has approved in nearly a decade.
The tax levy increase of 2.75% for 2021 is meant to limit the financial impact to taxpayers during very difficult economic times. For 2021, the median valued home in Bloomington will see an overall property tax reduction of about $50 when considering the City, County, School District and other taxing jurisdictions.
The approach of a tax levy stabilization strategy allows the Council to control the levy and limit reductions in service to the community. Before the City Council voted on the budget, the Community Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC) provided three tiers of reductions to consider. The Council chose the first tier, which mostly included service changes that would be largely unnoticeable to residents; a notable exception being elimination of the Motor Vehicle Office. The second and third tiers included increasingly impactful and difficult reductions. Bloomington’s Motor Vehicle Office will close on March 31, 2021.
The budget framework presented to the City Council before budget adoption had these core values:
Honor the work of the CBAC and the perspective of residents impacted by these decisions.
Limit the impact of property tax increases to the greatest extent possible during a year that will financially challenge many taxpayers in the community.
Minimize the impact of City service reductions to the greatest extent possible, recognizing that many people in the community rely on these services as necessary for quality of life, health and safety.
Consider the implications and impacts on future budget years.
With those values in mind, the budget approved by the City Council is best summarized with these points:
Property tax levy increase of 2.75% for 2021.
Majority of reductions to City services included in CBAC’s first tier option are incorporated into the budget, with some additions and subtractions suggested by City staff.
Creation of a tax levy stabilization line in the strategic priorities fund as a balancing strategy to buffer tax levy increases.
A conceptual 2022 property tax levy increase of 0%.
CBAC made it clear to the City Council that they focused on preserving the core functions of government, with special emphasis on not making reductions that would impact public safety. The recommendation to include the first tier changes honors the work of CBAC and reflects the voice of the community in this process.