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District 47 committee supports levy hike

Published: Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 8:53 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 11:47 p.m. CDT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Taxpayers in Crystal Lake School District 47 can expect to see an increase in their bills if a proposed levy is approved next month.

The District 47 Finance Committee approved a levy that would result in a 2.9 percent increase from last year's $65.5 million extension – the total amount of property tax collected.

While the proposed levy would generate $67.4 million in property tax revenue, Kevin Werner, the district's chief financial officer, said the real amount collected is almost always less than requested. He said the actual increase would be closer to 1.9 percent and generate roughly $66.7 million.

The owner of a $200,000 home would see a $39 increase in the District 47 portion of the property tax bill.

The increase in property tax bills is partially a result of the area's total equalized assessed valuation – the total taxed property value – decreasing 7.6 percent, costing the district hundreds of millions in its tax base.

Board President Jeff Mason said the loss of EAV is a "rough" trend, but believed the proposed levy was a modest increase considering the economic conditions.

"It's always not pleasant to sit in a chair and ask taxpayers for more money," Mason said. "But I think it's reasonable ... with the return on investment."

Board member Ryan Farrell agreed with Mason and added it would be nice to have clarity on unknown costs such as a potential shift of pension costs to local districts, but he was not optimistic the state would offer anything more than a fuzzy picture.

The board will discuss the levy at its full meeting Nov. 18 before holding a public hearing and approving a final proposal in December.

The committee also heard a positive report from auditor Jim White on the official review of the 2012-13 budget. The district reduced its findings on the internal control section from eight to three as staff members such as Werner, who has been with the district for 15 months, get more accustomed to district-specific financial areas.

None of the findings were financial in nature.

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