Baxter Estates officials don’t expect to exceed tax cap

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The Village of Baxter Estates usually passes a bill to override the tax cap in case of emergency, even though it has not exceeded the cap over the past few years. With the tax cap at 2 percent this year, the Board of Trustees considered if it needed to pass it at all.

“I always recommend that the board do this because of the timing,” the village attorney, Chris Prior, said at last Thursday’s meeting. “You have not yet begun to do real work on the budget. You don’t know yet whether it will be relevant or not.”

Even though the village does not yet know if it would need to exceed the cap, Prior said it was useful to get the ball rolling just in case. If the village determines in the coming month that the cap does not be to be exceeded, the public hearing would be canceled. Even if it is passed, the village can rescind the override, something Baxter Estates has done in the past.

The law must be in place before a budget that would pierce the cap is adopted. But with the cap at 2 percent — the highest in five years — members of the board found it hard to believe the village would need to go over the cap.

“It’s much higher than it was last year,” said Mayor Nora Haagenson. “So I think we’ll be OK.”

Nonetheless, the Board of Trustees voted to hold a public hearing at its March 1 meeting, the first step toward passing an override.

As for the budget, the village will hold a budget workshop on Saturday, March 3, at 9 a.m.

The village also cleared up some language in the code regarding planning board applications. It makes it clear that the $500 application fee is nonrefundable while the $2,000 deposit is refundable.

Village Clerk Chrissy Kiernan said that death threats will now be reported to the police after an irate resident threatened the acting clerk around Christmas time over leaf pickup.

“People need to understand that these will be taken seriously going forward,” she said.

Trustee Chris Ficalora proposed expanding the local code to punish people for being verbally abusive to village employees.

“There is no reason for someone to call the office and be verbally abusive,” Haagenson said.

Prior said that he would look into laws from other villages to determine what a law limiting verbal abuse in Baxter Estates would look like.

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