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District 50 raises 
levy 6.75 percent

HARVARD – Homeowners in District 50 can expect a higher property-tax bill next year to the tune of 3 percent.

The district last week passed a $15.82 million levy – a 6.75 percent increase for the 2013-14 school year. Officials, however, expect to collect only a 3 percent increase plus tax dollars from any growth. The Illinois tax cap law limits annual increases to the lesser amount of 5 percent or the rate of inflation – for this year 3 percent, plus growth. The 6.75 percent increase in the levy ensures the district will not miss out on any tax dollars from growth.

“We have done a balloon levy to capture the value of new growth within the district, but expect to capture much less,” District 50 Business Manager Mary Taylor said.

Harvard District 50 covers Harvard High School, Harvard Junior High School, Jefferson School, Crosby Elementary and Washington School.

The uncertainty of state financing, including expected decreases in general state aid, contributed to the district’s decision to raise the levy, according to a news release. The district cited timeliness of state payments as another factor in raising the levy.

“When we have to wait six to 12 months for state payments that we count on, it has a cost and an opportunity-cost associated with it,” Taylor said. Opportunity-cost is the cost of delaying or not doing something that would be done if resources were available.

The district also is preparing for the “possibility that the state will push some of the cost of fulfilling its pension obligation,” the release said.

District 50 spokesman Bill Clow could not provide information about the average increase for homeowners. He said the district does not calculate the figure because there are too many variables.

A property owner’s tax bill could rise more than 3 percent if they’ve made improvements to their property or taken on other construction projects in the last year, causing the value of their home to rise.


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