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The Examiner U-46 News Feed

Split U-46 vote passes property tax levy hike


By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 approved a 1.9 percent property tax increase at its meeting on Monday, Nov. 21.
  The determination of tax levy and a resolution regarding the proposed levy were both approved by 5-2 votes, Cody Holt and Jeanette Ward voting no. Phil Costello, Traci Ellis, Sue Kerr, Veronica Noland and Veronica Noland all voted for the tax increase.
  The 1.9 percent tax hike would increase revenues from $262 million to $267 million, but that is a defensive levy. Dale Burnidge, director of financial operations, said the district expects a 1.39 percent increase which would put revenues at $265.6 million.
  The levy is determined through estimates of Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV), which includes new construction and any changes in EAV among current properties, as well as the current rate of inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index, which is currently 0.7 percent. Burnidge said the reason for the defensive levy is because the district is currently working with estimates.
  After the board approved the tax levy determination, it passed the resolution which Burnidge said “allows us to complete the tax levy certificate by putting these amounts that are in the determination into the tax levy certificate.”
  The tax increase will be finalized at the board’s December meeting when it will vote on the certificate of tax levy as well as the tax levy resolution. The board will also vote on a resolution stating the district’s intent to abate back some of the levy, a process district officials say has the effect of keeping taxpayers rates flat.
  Ward has opposed tax increases since taking her seat on the board and also feels the abatement process isn’t intellectually honest as it doesn’t actually keep rates flat but rather pushes the tax increase off on future taxpayers. She also opposes the expansions in operations recently made as adding more and more programs means taxpayer relief cannot be sought.
  “We are in fact increasing the levy extension in a permanent manner while we abate back money on a temporary basis,” Ward said. “I think this is a bit disingenuous to the taxpayers because it preserves continuing tax increases. This levy is also to support a budget that greatly expands operations for the Full Day Kindergarten program which I did not support.”
  Holt also feels taxpayers are overly burdened and said he “would support next time around freezing our property tax levy.”
  “As many of you know, the taxpayers of DuPage, Kane and Cook County are some of the most overburdened taxpayers in this nation, and I just can’t continue to support any tax increase,” Holt said.

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