Council Briefing: Normal Approves Property Tax Settlement, City Manager Search

Mark Peterson City Manager.jpg

Council Briefing

Normal Town Council: January 2, 2018

At the Town of Normal Council Meeting on Tuesday January 2, 2018, the issues discussed included: a property tax settlement with Young America, funding for traffic signals, sexual harassment prevention, and the search for a new city manager.

Property Tax Settlement

  • The Town of Normal approved a second property tax settlement for student apartment buildings near Illinois State University, this time with Young America Realty.
  • The agreement settles Young America’s challenge of the assessment for 22 properties. City Manager Mark Peterson said Young America also volunteered to increase the assessment for 59 other properties by 20%, resulting in “a huge potential increase in revenue to a number of the taxing bodies” including Unit Five Schools.
  • Peterson said the agreement is a greater benefit to taxpayers and local taxing bodies than if the assessment challenges were litigated and courts sided with the assessor, as the agreement covers more properties than the original assessment dispute.
  • The Council approved a nearly identical settlement with First Site, Inc. on December 4, 2017.
  • Unit Five Schools led the negotiations in both agreements as the primary intervenor in assessment challenges. Unit Five consumes the greatest portion of property taxes in Normal, about 60%. The Town receives the next largest portion at about 11%.

Go Further: Property Tax Settlements Becoming the ‘New Normal’ for Large Property Owners

Funding for Traffic Signals

  • The Town will pay its obligation to McLean County for the cost of putting up traffic signals at the intersection of Towanda Barnes and Raab Roads.
  • The total cost of the signals was $167,421.74. Federal funds covered $118,785.72, leaving $48,636.02 to be covered locally.
  • The approved resolution appropriates  $16,210.39, one-third of that cost, from the Town's motor fuel tax funds to pay the obligation outlined in a 2014 cost-sharing agreement with McLean County.

Sexual Harassment Prevention

  • The Town also adopted a new directive prohibiting sexual harassment.
  • The Illinois General Assembly in November 2017 enacted Public Act 100-554 mandating local governments establish policies prohibiting sexual harassment by January 15, 2018.
  • The new directive further defines the term and outlines reporting procedures and protections for employees reporting sexual harassment.

City Manager Search

  • The Council adjourned to a closed executive session to discuss the Town’s search for a new city manager.
  • City Manager Mark Peterson will retire in March after 30 years with the Town.
  • Peterson said the Town likely will have no news on the matter until later in January or February.