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CL Park District OKs flat levy, seeks minimal hike for bonds

CRYSTAL LAKE – The Crystal Lake Park District agreed to freeze its levy request at last year’s level, opting for only a slight increase to cover its debt service.

The park district’s $5.6 million levy request is the same amount it received this year from taxpayers, excluding bond and interest payments. The district will seek an additional $1 million, or $26,000 more than last year, to cover annual debt service payments, bringing the total levy request to $6.6 million.

“This is great news for the taxpayers of the Crystal Lake Park District as their tax bill ... should see an almost unnoticeable increase,” park district Executive Director Jason Herbster wrote in an email to the Northwest Herald.

Still, taxpayers can expect to see an increase on their tax bills next year if the tax rate increases as expected. The owner of a home valued at $300,000 last year likely will see the portion of their bill paid to the park district rise from $413 to $456, said Debra Oldham, the park district’s superintendent of business services.

But that’s assuming there is no change in the property’s assessed valuation. That figure could be higher if a home’s value dropped this year. The park district is anticipating that property values have declined from 8 percent to 10 percent.

“Basically we won’t increase [the tax levy], other than that we have no control over what the state multiplier is going to be, or people challenging tax bills,” Herbster said. “People will most likely see an increase because of [that].”

The Crystal Lake Park District makes up about 5 percent of a resident’s tax bill, Oldham said.

The district’s $17 million annual budget is made up of an almost equal split of residential taxes and program fees.

The park district could have requested the maximum allowed under the tax cap, which is 3 percent more than what was received last year.

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