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District 300 Board approves tentative property tax levy increase

Public hearing slated forNovember

The School District 300 Board gave tentative approval for a property tax levy request that would amount to a 12.94% increase from last year during a recent meeting.

In 2018, the total amount of property taxes extended was $199.5 million. The district’s levy request for 2019 property tax payable in 2020 is $225.3 million. However, after the tax cap is applied to the levy the district is asking for, chief financial officer Susan Harkin said district officials expect they will collect about $204.8 million, an increase of 2.67%.

Board members approved the levy request by a 6-0 vote.

The property tax cap limits the amount local governments can increase taxes on property owners who have not improved their property to 5% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. The Consumer Price Index used for 2019 is 1.9%.

More than half of most local property tax bills go to support schools. The owner of a $200,000 home who claimed the homestead exemption owed almost $3,700 in property tax to the district this year.

Provided a homeowner’s property was not found to increase in value, they could expect their tax owed to decrease, Harkin said.

Harkin said as part of the district’s levy request, they had to make some assumptions, particularly about things that are “unique” to the district.

The district covers four counties – McHenry, Kane, DeKalb and Cook – and the fact that it has the Sears economic development agreement in Hoffman Estates is key to think about, Harkin said.

“We’re not sure what the long-term position of what that’s going to look like for the district,” Harkin said. “If that actually does go away, we have to protect ourselves.”

Years ago, Hoffman Estates and Sears forged an agreement that provided financial assistance to the company in exchange for locating its corporate campus in the village. Sears petitioned to extend the agreement in 2012. In 2018, the district filed a complaint with the Circuit Court of Cook County to stop the distribution of the EDA taxes, as it said Sears had not met the required job numbers outlined in the EDA agreement. If a ruling is made in the district’s favor, it might be eligible to get the diverted tax dollars it lost under the agreement.

“If we don’t ask [for] enough in our levy, should that new property come on the books, we would never be able to access those dollars as a district,” Harkin said.

In addition, there also has been a lot of new development in the community the district wants to account for, Harkin added.

A public hearing on the approval of the proposed property tax levy increase is set for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at the School District 300 Central Office, 2550 Harnish Drive, Algonquin.

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