DeKALB – DeKalb homeowners living within District 428 could pay $6 less on their next property tax bill now that the school board recommended a decrease in the tax rate for their 2019 tax levy Tuesday.
Jeff Hallgren, Valerie Pena-Hernandez and Victoria Newport were absent from the board meeting, but those in attendance voted unanimously to request the district set a 7% tax rate on the 2019 property tax levy. If approved by a final vote, expected after a public hearing set for Dec. 3, the measure could mean that 2019 will be second consecutive year the district chose to not raise taxes for the levy.
District 428 Finance Director Cindy Carpenter presented the board with three options, the first two of which included rate increases of as much as 5%. The third option suggested a rate decrease, which would amount to a 0.2% reduction, and would result in $6 in savings for homeowners with properties valued at $150,000.
“Honestly, I am a proponent of option three to stay consistent with what we did last year and give the taxpayers some savings as well,” Carpenter said. “It keeps their increases in taxes for the last two years at zero.”
The decrease is because of $2.2 million in bond abatements, documents show.
According to the district’s budget, 49% of the district’s operating funds come from property taxes, with the second-highest source of revenue coming from state funding, which is expected to increase by 10% from fiscal 2019 because of a budgeted $2.9 million increase in state funding for fiscal 2020, according to figures from the Illinois State Board of Education.
Before the vote, former board member Kerry Mellott urged the board to approve a levy decrease. He also called into question why three of the seven board members were absent.
“It’s a little disconcerting that the entire [District] 428 area will be affected by a vote that will be done by four of you, rather than all of you,” Mellott said. “I hope you’ll consider voting to reduce the tax rate as much as possible. That’s ultimately what we need.”
Board members also expressed being in favor of capturing the revenue expected from tax increment finance districts returning to the tax rolls in 2020. Carpenter said the district could receive $5.1 million from the TIF district known as TIF 1 and $14.8 million from TIF 2, which expired Dec. 31, 2018.
“We haven’t seen that kind of numbers for years and years,” Carpenter said. “Basically, since the market tanked. That’s a very unusually high growth that we can capture, and you can only capture it the first year it comes on the tax rolls.”
In 2018, the district’s board of education voted to maintain the tax levy rate, resulting in no increase for most DeKalb homeowners.
Source: The Daily Chronicle