The District 86 Board of Education approved a tentative tax levy last week that would aim to raise as much revenue via property taxes as state law allows.
The board voted 5-2 to affirm the administration’s recommendation to request a $75.5 million “balloon levy” to be collected from its taxpayers, $73.1 million of which would go toward its capped funds like education and operations, despite the fact that such an increase accounts for $17 million more in new construction than the district expects, business manager Jeff Eagan said.
The $73.1 million for capped funds is a 4.5 percent increase over last year’s tax extension.
According to state law, the extension of the 2012 levy over the 2011 levy is limited by the 2011 consumer price index (CPI) of 3 percent, but can exceed that percentage based on the equalized assessed valuation (EAV) of all property in the district and/or the amount of new property constructed in the district, two numbers that won't be known until next spring.
Business manager Jeff Eagan said he expects there will be $30 million in new construction and a five percent EAV decrease in District 86 for the coming tax year.
Balloon levies like the one passed tentatively last week are common in the area, extending well beyond the CPI to make sure the maximum levy, including revenue that might come as a result of EAV and new construction exceeding expectations, is approved by the county clerks’ offices in the spring.
Board President Dennis Brennan voted in favor of the tentative levy along with board members Kay Gallo, DeeDee Gorgol, Michael Kuhn and Jennifer Planson. Dianne Barrett and Richard Skoda voted against the tentative levy.
Barrett and Skoda both said at the board’s Nov. 5 committee of the whole meeting that they supported a flat levy that would collect the same amount as last year.
Skoda said he’s heard EAV may fall more than five percent in District 86, and it’s unfair for residents who are seeing their home values drop to be on the hook for an increasing tax levy.
“We need to come up with a better argument … why we are asking people who are losing money to pay more money,” Skoda said on Nov. 5.
Brennan agreed that falling EAV is a problem, but he said the district doesn’t revenue-raising alternatives in Illinois, where state funding is lacking.
“There’s only one way [to fund a school district] if you live in this area, and it’s property taxes,” the board president said.
The $73.1 million request applies to capped funds that include the education, operations and maintenance, transportation, Tort liability, Social Security, IMRF and working cash funds.
The total balloon levy for all funds, including $2.4 million for the non-capped debt service fund, would be $75.5 million, which would equate to a 4 percent increase over last year's total extension.
The final tax levy resolution will be voted on at the board’s Dec. 10 meeting.