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District 158 seeks property tax levy tied to inflation

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 11:38 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 11:57 p.m. CDT

HUNTLEY – District 158 officials are seeking an inflationary increase to the property tax levy after three years of holding requests flat for existing homeowners in the Huntley area.

The 1.7 percent increase that is tied to inflation would add $915,000 to the school district’s coffers, said Chief Financial Officer Mark Altmayer. A homeowner with a home valued at $200,000 will pay $53 more in property taxes to the district.

The same homeowner paid $3,382 total in property taxes this year to the district. Property taxes are the main revenue source for District 158 and most other school districts in the state.

“In an effort to keep up with increasing costs, we need to pass the Consumer Price Index increase of 1.7 percent,” Altmayer said.

The added property tax dollars will go to general operating costs, including larger district expenses like salaries and benefits. The request breaks three consecutive years officials held the district’s property tax levy flat, excluding ballooned increases to capture taxes from new construction, which is not subject to the tax cap.

The district technically is ballooning this year’s levy by an extra 1 percent to capture an estimated $9.4 million in new construction. But Altmayer said the actual revenue coming from new construction likely will be lower than estimated.

The district’s levy request, including the ballooned portion, totals $55.7 million. The board will make a final vote on it during its Dec. 19 meeting.

The district in January also will abate roughly $400,000 in debt that would have been normally paid through property taxes. The 4.6 percent reduction would drop the district’s debt paid by property taxes from $8.6 million to $8.3 million, Altmayer said.

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