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Fox River Grove District 3 looking at tax levy abatement

Published: Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 5:00 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 12:06 a.m. CDT

FOX RIVER GROVE – Even though the School District 3 Board earlier this week approved increasing its annual property tax levy by the rate of inflation, the school district might not take that full amount, district officials said.

Superintendent Tim Mahaffy said board members have been in discussion about the possibility of abating part of the district’s levy.

Mahaffy said a decision might be made in February, when the deadline to abate property taxes comes. The abatement could be up to the equivalent of the 1.7 percent increase in the levy. Discussion also is expected to take place in January, Mahaffy added.

For the time being, the district increased its levy by 1.7 percent the rate of inflation. Under the tax cap law, the school district is limited by how much it can increase its levy by the lessor of the rate of inflation in the consumer price index or 5 percent.

The total levy the district expects to collect is $5.1 million, which includes an $85,500 increase from last year’s levy and property taxes on new construction.

Mahaffy estimated the rate will increase by $0.13 per $100 of equalized assessed value.

For a $200,000 house, the amount of money the owner can expect to pay to the school district would increase by $86.

“We definitely understand the community ... that’s why the board is having the discussion about the abatement,” Mahaffy said.

However, tax rates won’t be determined until property values are finalized in the spring.

Mahaffy said health insurance costs for the district are increasing by 11 percent, and added that funding levels from the state and federal government sometimes are unknown.

The district’s five-year financial projections say the district is on solid financial footing.

If the district opted not to take the increase in the consumer price index, then it would not be able to take in the additional $85,000 it could receive.

Mahaffy said levying for the full amount of taxes in December but abating them later allows the district to increase its levy in future years without the lost revenue being compounded in subsequent years by limiting the tax rate.

Whether the district goes through with an abatement will depend on whether financial and EAV projections hold true.

“We don’t want to abate ourselves into tax anticipation warrants,” Mahaffy said.

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