POST-TRIBUNE |AUG 12, 2020 AT 8:25 AM
Lake County residents will likely see a slight increase to a portion of their property taxes in 2021, but officials aren’t concerned about receiving more late payments as a result of the economic hardship amid the pandemic.
The Lake County estimated tax levy for 2021 is a 4% increase from last year’s levy, according to county officials.
The state took last year’s levy and increased it by 4%, which means Lake County has to budget for $166.4 million for fiscal year 2021, said Lake County Finance Director Scott Schmal. With the estimated 4% increase in the tax levy, a portion of Lake County resident’s property tax bill will increase next year, Schmal said.
While residents will see a small increase to a portion of their property tax in 2021, Schmal said he doesn’t foresee late payments next year because of the COVID-19 impact. “The small increase isn’t going to stop people from paying,” Schmal said.
Schmal said he is worried about a significant decrease in income tax revenue and miscellaneous revenues, like user fees or water park revenue, because of the financial impact COVID-19 has had on residents. But, because the state disperses money received to municipalities the following year – for example money received in 2019 is given to municipalities in 2020 – local officials will be able to plan for the financial impact of COVID-19, Schmal said. “It kind of gives us time to prepare for what could come,” Schmal said. The Lake County Council will begin 2021 budget presentations and workshops Sept. 1.