River Forest trustees on Dec. 13 voted to request an increase in the village’s 2021 tax levy of 2.18 percent after freezing the 2020 levy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Illinois tax cap laws limit the tax levy increases for non-home rule municipalities like River Forest to 5 percent or the level of the consumer price index (CPI), whichever is lower. For 2021, the CPI is 1.4 percent. The additional amount requested reflects the village’s attempt to capture the uncapped value of new property development in River Forest in the past year.

The Cook County Clerk will likely decrease River Forest’s tax levy request to an amount closer to CPI when property is reassessed sometime next year.

At the Dec. 13 village board meeting, officials approved a levy for 2021 of $8,489,113, which is slightly higher than the extended levy for 2020 of $8,308,408. The levy amount did not change since it was presented at the Nov. 8 village board meeting.

“I think our town should be very pleased with us,” Village President Cathy Adduci said, noting that the levy includes only $4 million of the $30 million available due to new construction, the majority of which was from the opening of the Sheridan at River Forest assisted living facility.

The Sheridan, which opened in the spring, is at 800 N. Harlem. The facility includes 125 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments for seniors needing assisted living and memory care services. The structure is four stories in height in the middle, with its north and south ends topping out at three floors.

“We continue to be good fiscal stewards,” Adduci added. “It boils down to an exceptional staff, for which I am grateful.”

The village board also approved the annual tax levy for the River Forest Public Library, which falls under the auspices of the village but is governed separately. 

The current fiscal year runs from May 1, 2021, to April 30, 2022. The taxes from the 2021 levy are collected in 2022.

The tax levy request also highlights just how large a part police and fire pensions play in the village’s fiscal picture. The village is requesting levy total taxes of a little more than $3.6 million to fund the village’s police and fire pension obligations, which are based on actuarial reports prepared by the village’s actuary, Todd Schroeder from Lauterbach & Amen.

Pension obligations amount to nearly 43 percent of River Forest’s annual property tax levy request.

Officials noted that the village portion of residents’ property tax bills is about 12 percent of the total.

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