Meeting special session Tuesday night, Gillespie City Council members voted unanimously to approve a resolution placing a tax referendum for Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund on the April 4 consolidated election ballot.
Mayor Pro Tem Dona Rauzi, presiding over the meeting in the absence of Mayor John Hicks, said the special meeting was needed in order to meet the deadline for including the issue on the April ballot.
If approved by voters, the city would be authorized to levy a new tax for IMRF benefits of up to .35 percent of the equalized assessed valuation of taxable property within the city. City Treasurer Dan Fisher told the BenGil Post the amount levied probably will be less than the full .35 percent authorized. The maximum levy would result in an increase of $35 in additional taxes for a $30,000 home with an equalized assessed valuation of $10,000.
An additional .35 percent levy would increase the city’s total property tax extension by about $100,000—from $232,943 to $332,524.
If approved by voters, approximately 25 full-time city workers would be able to participate in IMRF for their retirement benefits. The issue originally came up when Police Department employees approached the council about switching their retirement plan from the Fraternal Order of Police to the IMRF system. Over the ensuing weeks, Maintenance Department, Water Department and other full-time employees joined the request.
Lake Manager Gary Thornhill said some employees were disappointed that they were not informed about Tuesday’s special meeting, but Rauzi pointed out the only action planned was to vote on the resolution to place the issue on the ballot.
“Now it’s time for you to go to work,” Rauzi said. “You guys will actually have to get out and knock on doors and get people to vote for this so you guys can be in IMRF.”
Notice of the meeting was properly given, and it was posted on the marquee sign outside city hall.
One resident, J.F. Singleton, apparently was aware of the meeting and attended to a meandering list of complaints, including sewage system issues he said he had heard about. He said he had heard of people having sewage back up into their basements and “nothing has been done about it.”
Singleton said he lives in a second-story apartment on Macoupin Street, and had complaints about noise levels and “harassment” against him, though it was unclear whether he was referencing harassment from city officials or other people.
Rauzi and Ald. Wendy Rolando said they did not know Singleton. “I don’t see how we can harass you if we don’t know who you are,” Rauzi said.
Singleton, who is white, alleged racial prejudice and harassment toward the LGBTV+ community, but again was unclear about the source of the bigotry.
“I’d like to do something with you all to bridge that gap” he said.
Rauzi eventually took note that Singleton was not on the agenda for the night and gaveled the meeting to adjournment. She advised Singleton to contact city hall and have himself added to the agenda for the next regular meeting of the council.