I try not to be surprised, but, yow! I had no idea residents of Schaumburg have never paid a tax levy in the village’s 53 years of existence.

Now, the roughly  75,386 residents are going to have to dig deep to help plug a budget gap, adding about 8.1 percent to each resident’s 2009 tax bill.

From the Daily Herald:

The decision to establish Schaumburg’s first property tax in the village’s 53-year history may not have been a popular choice, but it was needed, Mayor Al Larson said.

“They’ll probably throw us out of office in a year and a half, but it’s something that you have to do,” Larson said. “It’s not taken lightly; we didn’t just make up a number and throw it out there. There’s some real, real costs to the village.”

Trustees unanimously approved a $23.7 million tax levy at Tuesday night’s meeting, which was moved to the Prairie Center for the Arts as village officials anticipated a larger audience. About 70 attended the meeting with 10 making public comments opposing the levy.

The village’s new property tax will add about 8.1 percent to a resident’s 2009 tax bill. The village will start collecting in 2011.

Schaumburg officials said decreased revenue from sales, hotel, food and beverage taxes and the state’s income tax helped create a $17.6 million deficit in the budget.

Larson wouldn’t forecast if the tax would ever be lifted, citing the uncertainty with the economy. He asked if he could “borrow a crystal ball” to predict when the recession would be over.

“Is it going to be over in a year, two years, three years?” he said. “If revenues come back the board certainly would look at cutting the levy.”

Holy over-budgeting, Batman!

Note the mayor pledged to possibly cut, but not eliminate, the levy, somewhere down the road.

Now, perhaps, the South Suburbs will have more success convincing the rest of the state to reform the way schools are funded?

Residents of Schaumburg, welcome to the great State of Illinois.