Pay attention…Here comes another levy in May, 2018…Crime Lab…

We heard that the Prosecutor’s Office is planning to place another real estate tax levy on the ballot.  As we promised as Lobbyists for Citizens, we asked for the financial information that would justify any additional taxes.

Here is the letter from Mr. Charles Coulson, Lake County Prosecutor, to the Lake County Commissioners requesting to place an additional .5 Mill levy on the 2017 General Election ballot for the Lake County Crime Laboratory.

Prosecutor’s letter to Commissioners pg 1

Prosecutor’s letter to Commissioners pg 2

Although the request was for the November 2017 ballot, it has been postponed for some reason  until the May 2018 ballot. (I have my suspicion that they did not want to interfere with the Senior and Children’s Levies on the November ballot, but I will try to get the answer at the next Commissioner’s meeting.)

Here is the financial information provided to us by the Lake County Prosecutor’s office:

Crime Lab financial activity 2008 – 2018

Please note that the calculation of the payroll and benefit increases, and the impact of an additional .5 mill levy are provided by us and not the Prosecutor’s office.

The numbers indicate that there has been a 129.54% increase in payroll and benefits from 2008 levels.  The other interesting statistic is that in 2008 there was a surplus cash balance of $4,643,940.  It has been continuing to shrink each year, except for 2010, but the payroll and benefits expense continued to increase each year (129.54% since 2008).  It may be explained by increasing crime statistics; therefore, the increased demands placed on the Crime Lab.  However, we were not given those statistics.

The additional .5 mills will generate ~$2,613,110 (167%) in additional taxes, and will cost taxpayers an additional ~$17.50 for every $100,000 in market value of their home. The entire .8 mill levy will cost residents ~$28.00 for every $100,000 in market value.

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My concern is that we are seeing how a government entity grows when there are funds available. The new levy will bring substantially more money than the projected shortfall of $1,253,187 in 2018.  Ten years from now will we see a doubling the size of the Crime Lab, and, therefore, an endless cycle of increasing property taxes?   So they are going to have to justify to us with crime statistics why the need for more money, and what do they envision for the Crime Lab in the coming years. The Crime Lab does not appear to be sustainable in its current structure.
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