Oregon proposing lower taxes for next year

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OREGON — Oregon taxpayers could see a decrease on their property tax bills next year if the city’s proposed budget is passed Dec. 14.

Finance Commissioner Terry Schuster is proposing a property tax levy of $728,233.77 — approximately 1.394% of the city of Oregon’s equalized assessed value — for fiscal year 2023. Oregon’s fiscal year runs May 1 to April 30.

For someone with a $150,000 house, the city tax rate be $696.92; that’s a decrease of $44.98 from the 2021 tax rate.

“So it’s a bonus to those whose properties haven’t changed hands or changed value,” Schuster said. “They’ll actually have a decrease in taxes they pay.”

Oregon’s equalized assessed value — one-third of the value of all property in the city — rose 6.743% to $52,245,879.

“[That increase] is a real healthy improvement in the value of houses and property in the city,” Schuster said. “I think it just speaks towards our economic vitality. However, it creates a little glitch.”

If the city continued to collect taxes at the same rate as 2021, the revenue collected would increase by more than 5%, and therefore trigger the state’s Truth in Taxation law, Schuster said. That law requires an announcement and public hearing that the city’s revenue exceeded a 5% increase, he said.

“What I’ve done then to keep us under 5% is to reduce the tax rate collecting revenue for the Audit Fund and the IMRF Retirement Fund,” Schuster said. “It means that we’ll be collecting less money for those funds than we would otherwise.”

There’s plenty of money in reserve for those two funds to absorb a loss next year, City Administrator Darin DeHaan said.

There are 11 funds the city allocates tax levy dollars toward. For fiscal year 2023, the proposed revenue for the funds are:

  • • General Fund: $173,978.78;
  • • Police Fund: $91,048.89;
  • • Recreation Fund: $10,025.98;
  • • Coliseum Fund: $39,184.41;
  • • Audit Fund: $18,586.96;
  • • Social Security Fund: $56,368.08;
  • • Band Fund: $3,166.10;
  • • School Crossing Fund: $10,449.18;
  • • Tort, Liability, Probability Insurance Fund: $141,063.87;
  • • Street Lighting Fund: $26,384.17;
  • • IMRF Retirement Fund: $157,967.35.

The Oregon City Council next meets Dec. 14 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, located at 115 N. 3rd St. The meeting also will be available via Zoom.

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner covers Ogle County for the Oregon Republican Reporter, Forreston Journal, Mt. Morris Times and Polo Tri-County Press. She has seven-plus years of experience in journalism and has won numerous awards, including a first place award for investigative reporting from the WNA.