Moline city council trying to avoid a property tax hike

MOLINE, Illinois -- Moline city council members say they will try to pass a 2019 budget without a property tax hike.

The city council rejected a plan presented Tuesday to raise property taxes by 2.5% in order to cover a budget shortfall.

Moline 3rd Ward Alderman Mike Wendt said the council asked the city administrator and staff to make cuts and return next week with a new proposal without the property tax hike.

But Wendt said the city cannot make cuts to firefighters' and police officers' pensions, which is where more than 60% of property tax revenues go.

"Those are out of our hands," Wendt said. "That's done in Springfield. But it's an obligation that were promises made to our uniformed first responders, and we're committed to follow that."

Lower-than-expected sales tax revenue this year has contributed to the budget squeeze.

The Moline city council has been trying to spur local businesses and encourage people to shop local.

"It's the commitment by the residents to buy here, to fill up their gas here, to run down to the local hardware store to pick something up," Wendt said.