The Examiner U-46 News Feed
U-46 again pursuing largest allowable levy
By Seth Hancock
School District U-46 plans to continue seeking the largest property tax levy increase allowed under the law with a levy proposal nearly $10 million higher than last year.
The determination of tax levy as well as a resolution regarding the levy was presented to the Board of Education at its meeting on Monday, Oct. 21 and the board is expected to vote on the levy on Nov. 4. There was no discussion from the board.
This is the first step for another U-46 property tax hike while a certificate of tax levy and another tax levy resolution will be presented on Nov. 18 and voted on at the Dec. 16 meeting.
The proposed 2019 levy is set at $288.5 million, up from the $278.8 million in the 2018 extension, but the district expects $285.6 million. The proposed property tax increase represents a 3.5 percent hike, and the expected increase is 2.4 percent higher.
Additionally, the district expects a $42.3 million levy on debt services and public building commission leases for 2019 which is a 0.39 percent increase from the $42.2 million extended in 2018, not “a decrease of 0.39 [percent] over the previous year” as is stated in the resolution.
That brings the total property tax levy proposal $330.8 million, a 3.1 percent increase from the total 2018 extension of $320.9 million.
Dale Burnidge, director of financial operations, said the district can increase property taxes by the Consumer Price Index, which is 1.9 percent, as well as new construction.
The Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) of properties within U-46 was $4.8 billion in 2018 and the district’s levy proposal is based on an assumption of the EAV increasing to $5.6 billion, but the district expects it to be $5.4 billion.
The levy is a defensive levy according to Burnidge as the district seeks to receive the most taxpayer dollars it legally can from property owners in the district as it feels it is “entitled.”
“EAV is not known until approximately April for Kane and DuPage Counties and July for Cook,” the determination proposal states. “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 proposal adds: “Calculating both the maximum allowable levy (MAL) and the final effective tax rate is not done until late summer.”
As reported by The Examiner during the Fiscal Year 2020 budget discussions, U-46 could theoretically keep the property tax levy flat and still significantly increase spending.
The budget was approved with unanimous support and no debate from the board in September. It increased spending by $36.2 million to $594.3 million total, this despite the district expecting to continue seeing a sizable decline in enrollment which projects a loss of 950 students to 37,444 total this year.
That budget estimated $3.1 million in additional property tax revenue. If the levy were kept flat, the district could have still increased spending by $33.1 million.