Lake Forest Finance Committee proposes tax cap, approves school separation
The city of Lake Forest's Finance Committee recently met at the City Council Chambers in advance of this year's budget talks.
Finance Director Elizabeth Holleb said her staff is working on an estimate for this year's tax levy. Without committing to any firm numbers, she said the 2015 tax cap is 0.8 percent.
Holleb also presented a request from School District 67 to become its own financial entity, separate from the city. The city and the school district are in support of the separation based on an analysis paid for by the district. The separation is motivated by the city's commitment to pension accounting standards set forth by the Government Accounting Standards Board.
To keep up with the standards and maintain the school's pension accounts in addition to those for city employees for cost the city an additional $23,000. Allowing the school board to handle its own books would also give the district the flexibility to issue better employee benefits without consulting the city or balancing with city finances.
The committee also considered potential savings through its employee health and dental insurance packages. Like many employers, the city is concerned about the so-called “Cadillac Tax” expected to take effect in 2018. The tax is part of the Affordable Care Act and taxes employers who offer insurance plans that are more expensive than government-set ceilings permit.
The committee reviewed an assessment of their insurance offerings by Director of Human Resource Desha Kalmar without any further action.