In their final meeting of 2015, the Vandalia City Council voted down their tax levy but then quickly changed their mind. And, according to advice they received, avoided what would have likely been a disaster. Dale Timmerman was on hand for last night’s meeting and explained that all the levels for the 2015 tax levy were the same except for the Police Pension Fund, which was going up by 19.44 percent. Timmerman said it was a change in actuary plan—basically to keep up with low interest rates and to keep putting the right amount of money in the Police Pension fund this increase was needed. The City Council had expressed frustration with the need for the tax increase, but seemed to understand it was necessary during the Public Hearing earlier in the evening. But, the City Council took the vote on the levy and it failed by a 4 to 3 vote—with Jerry Swarm, Mike Hobler and Ken Hubler voting yes and Dorothy Crawford, Russ Stunkel, B. John Clark and Joel Rebbe voting no. Mayor Rick Gottman quickly pointed out that with no tax levy, the City Council would not get any tax money and that there would be problems immediately with paying the bills. Timmerman pointed out that you would immediately have issues form the state because you were not adequately funding the police pension fund. Other alternatives, including a possible increase in sales tax, were brought up. But, Ward Three Alderman Mike Hobler pointed out it was too late to fix this problem now and Hobler also pointed out the City has not raised their tax levy in five years. Timmerman also pointed out that without a tax levy in place, you are not providing for pension, IMRF, Social Security and Medicare, as well. Ward Four Alderman B. John Clark asked Timmerman if they were breaking a law by underfunding the police pension fund, such as with a tax levy that kept spending exactly the same, and Timmerman said Yes. Ward Two Alderwoman Dorothy Crawford said she didn’t like to vote for a tax increase and also felt like they were forced to vote yes on this, which is why she voted no. After some discussion, Ward Two Alderman Russ Stunkel moved to re-consider the tax levy and Ken Hubler seconded the motion. On the second vote, the tax levy for a 19.44 percent increase approved by a 5 to 2 vote with Rebbe and Crawford voting no.