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2018 property tax extensions increase for most school districts in McHenry County

2018 tax extensions up from 2017 for most school districts in county

District 47 Assistant Superintendent of Business Cathy Nelson presents information about raising the tax Levy at Monday's Crystal Lake D47 board meeting Dec. 18, 2017.
District 47 Assistant Superintendent of Business Cathy Nelson presents information about raising the tax Levy at Monday's Crystal Lake D47 board meeting Dec. 18, 2017.

For the 2018 tax year, a majority of McHenry County taxing bodies are slated to receive a boost in property tax revenue compared with 2017.

School districts saw some of the biggest growth in their total property tax extension.

McHenry School District 15's property tax extension, for instance, increased by $2 million in 2018, according to tax computation reports prepared by the McHenry County Clerk's Office. Algonquin-based School District 300 saw an estimated $1.2 million increase to its extension over 2017 while Huntley School District 158 saw an estimated $1.3 million increase.

Although the total property tax extension represents the dollar amount a taxing district can receive for that fiscal year, McHenry County Tax Extender Brittany Johansen said this number does not always indicate the exact amount the district will receive.

“When taxpayers do not pay their property taxes to the treasurer’s office, the taxing districts associated with that taxpayer lose out on the tax revenue,” Johansen said. “Of course, some of the loss is negated when the treasurer holds the annual tax sale every year. However, there are still some circumstances that arise that cause the taxing districts to not receive all the revenue that was extended.”

Once a local government makes a property tax levy request, the county clerk's office calculates the tax rate needed to raise the requested revenue allowable by law. The extension is a product of the district's combined property value and the calculated tax rate.

Although most taxing districts in the county are set to receive more property tax funding than they did in the 2017 tax year, some school districts were able to take steps in the opposite direction.

Crystal Lake Elementary District 47 was one of only two school districts in McHenry County that experienced a decrease in its property tax extension for 2018. It dropped from about $75 million in 2017 to about $73 million, a 2.62% decrease.

Cathy Nelson, district assistant superintendent of business, said this decrease was the result of paying off 2007 and 2009 general obligation bonds in 2017.

The district still is paying off its Build America Bonds, which were municipal bonds issued after the 2008 recession to fund infrastructure improvements for local governments. Because these bonds are paid out of the District 47 operating fund, Nelson said the district can’t ask for a levy increase to pay them off.

The other school district with a 2018 extension decrease was Woodstock School District 200, which saw a drop of about $382.

Tax extension increases for non-home rule taxing districts are limited under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, which is designed to slow the growth of taxing district revenues when property values and assessments are growing quicker than the rate of inflation.

Extension increases are limited to 5% or the increase in the national Consumer Price Index for the year preceding the levy year, whichever is less.

Homeowners can see how much of their property taxes went to various taxing bodies this year compared with last year in the bottom left corner of their tax bill.

Total property tax extensions for all taxing districts in McHenry County are available on the county clerk's section of the county website at www.mchenrycountyil.gov/county-government/departments-a-i/county-clerk/taxes.

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