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U-46 Board primed set for vote on tax items


By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 is prepared to vote on a pair of property tax items at its upcoming meeting on Monday, Dec. 16 as the district is planning again to increase the levy by the maximum amount allowed under law.
  A certificate of tax levy and a corresponding resolution were presented to the board on Nov. 18.
  “The certificate lists the levy amounts which are requested for each fund,” said Dale Burnidge, director of financial operations. On the resolution, he said: “That’s an annual resolution which allows administration to go ahead and file the certificate of tax levy.”
  The district must file the certificate with county clerk offices by the final Tuesday of December.
  The board, which had no discussion on the tax hike, already unanimously approved of related items earlier in November, also with no debate. Approved already were the determination of tax levy and a related resolution.
  The tax increase is nearly $10 million, rising from $320.9 million to $330.8 million (3.1 percent increase) including the corporate and special purpose levies along with the debt services levy. It includes a 3.5 percent increase in the corporate/special purpose levy ($288.5 million from $278.8 million) and a 0.39 percent increase in the debt services levy ($42.3 million from $42.4 million).
  The levy is a defensive levy, the district expecting a 2.4 percent increase ($285.6 million total) in the corporate/special purpose levy, as the district hopes to take as much in taxpayer dollars as legally possible. Equalized assessed values, which is used to determine the levy, until the spring and early summer in Cook, DuPage and Kane counties which all include U-46 properties.
  “Since levies are filed by the last Tuesday in December of the previous year, it is still necessary to defensive levy to insure receipt of all property tax dollars to which the District is entitled,” the determination of tax levy states.
  The annual U-46 tax increase comes while enrollment continues to decline, enrollment having dropped 5.6 percent (2,293 fewer students) between Fiscal Year 2012 and FY 2019. Spending has increased $128.1 million (29.8 percent) over that time which is over $80 million faster than the rate of inflation according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.
  The FY 2020 budget, also unanimously approved in the fall, increased spending by $36.2 million.
  Since 2007, average home values have significantly declined but property tax bills have significantly increased in all three U-46 counties according to data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Values have decline 29 percent but taxes have risen 4 percent in Kane, values have dropped 24 percent but taxes are up 7 percent in DuPage and values have decreased 31 percent but taxes have increased 22 percent in Cook.

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