McLean County property owners to pay higher taxes due to rising land values

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 10:33 PM CST
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BLOOMINGTON (25News Now) - With the help of three Republicans who broke party ranks, the McLean County Board voted Thursday night to collect 13% more in property taxes next year.

The board, on a 13-7 vote, adopted a levy in which the county government will collect $46.1 million in property taxes next year. The tax rate will stay the same, but property owners will wind up paying more because land values have risen significantly higher.

All 10 Democrats on the board voted in favor of the levy, along with Republican Board Chair Catherine Metzker and Board members Jim Soeldner and Susan Schafer.

Schafer said the additional spending is necessary to keep McLean County viable and a leader in the state.

“Everything else has increased in price. We cannot keep taxes and the amount you pay the same as it was 10-years ago,” Schafer said.

Chuck Erickson, a candidate for State Representative next year, was one of seven Republicans voting against the levy, although acknowledging county employees deserve a pay raise.

“I don’t want to destroy the morale of our employees, but it also looks like we’re going to destroy the morale of some of our taxpayers, and that seems to be a hard pill to swallow,” Erickson said.

Democrat Elizabeth Johnston, the board’s vice chair, defended previous spending on employee pay raises, the nursing home, the lagoon at Comlara Park and repairing the ceiling at the McLean County Museum of History.

She said projects in this coming year’s budget are necessary as well.

“These are projects that have been put off for so long and now it’s going to cost us more money because of the neglect. So, what we’re trying to do with this budget is to use the money most efficiently to save the taxpayers money in the long-term,” said Johnston.

To keep the tax rate flat, the county is delaying improvements for a year at the juvenile detention center, cutting almost $200,000 from the tax levy.