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Chenequa approves November levy referendum

 Village of Chenequa - The Chenequa Village Board has unanimously called for  November 4 referendum seeking voter approval of  a municipal tax levy that is about $85,000 higher than the levy limited imposed on the village by state law.

If the referendum is approved, the village's tax levy for 2015 would be about $1,808,197 an increase of nearly 7 percent above the 2014 levy of about $1,696,615.

The village annually spendts about  $1.9 million in opereations not including debt service and major capital expenditors for which it borrows money.

If the referendum failed, the village would have to operate on a levy $1,722, 912, which is increase of 1.5 percent, about $26,000 above the 2014 levy.

Village President Robert Foote Jr. said the 2015 village budget could not afford to provide the level of services "that village residents have become accustomed to" with such a small tax levy increases.

State law restricts annual municipal rate levy increases to percentage that is comparable to the economic growth in the community as measured by new construction. That rate of growth in the village was 1.55 percent, according to Village Administrator Robert Douglas.

Ironically, Chenequa is one of the state's weathiest communitiesin the state, Its median family income is $166,914, three times the state wide median income of about $51,000.

However, the village's real tax base is almost exclusively residential properties - many of them mansions- that suffered sharp decline in values as a result of the 2008 Great Recession.

The village, with a population of 600, maintains a nine member full time police force and it provides "up the drive" snow removal service for about 400 residents who pay a $100 fee to have their lengthy driveways- in some cases private roads- plowed by the village.

Douglas said that a home with a million dollar assessed valuation would pay an additional $187.21 in real estate taxes if the referendum were approved.

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