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District 47 approves tentative levy increase

Students gather in June 2016 outside Richard Bernotas Middle School in Crystal Lake. Crystal Lake District 47 approved a tax levy increase of 3.73%.
Students gather in June 2016 outside Richard Bernotas Middle School in Crystal Lake. Crystal Lake District 47 approved a tax levy increase of 3.73%.

The Crystal Lake District 47 School Board voted on Monday to accept a tentative tax levy increase of 3.73% from last year’s extended tax levy.

The requested amount of total property taxes to be levied for 2019 is $75.8 million. However, because District 47 is tax-capped, Cathy Nelson, assistant superintendent of business services, said the district expects to receive is $74.677 million.

“We ask for slightly above that because we want to be able to make sure that we capture all new property,” Nelson said.

Last year’s tax extension was $73,076,949.

There was an estimated $7 million in new property coming into the district last year. This year, the estimated new property is slightly more than $5.5 million.

Nelson said the district has been using fund balances to cover its expenses, but these have been depleting.

“What we’re levying for is what we believe we need to cover that,” Nelson said.

Nelson said if the assessed value of a person’s home did not change, the owner of a $300,000 home potentially would see a decrease of $150 in their property taxes.

The money the district receives from taxes will be used for operating its educational programs and to offset project costs associated with its five-year capital improvement plan, including a renovation of Coventry Elementary School.

Nelson said the renovation of Coventry will cost more than $18 million alone.

Other capital improvement projects the school is planning are repairing and replacing structural elements, such as roofs, doors and windows and upgrading electrical, plumbing and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

District 47 also sold $10.1 million in debt certificates in August 2019 to pay for these projects. These certificates are a nonreferendum financing option paid for with operating fund revenues, and are not part of a debt service levy, according to the district.

While districts are not required to have a public hearing unless their tax increases are 5% over its levy from last year, District 47 will have one anyway.

“Our board has believed ... it is the best for transparency purposes,” Nelson said.

Along with its tentative tax levy, the District 47 board also approved the submission of an application for the Illinois State Board of Education’s Property Tax Relief Grant. With these grants, school districts that abate taxes for two years can receive grant money from the state.

The public hearing for this year’s property tax levy is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at the CORE Center, 300 Commerce Drive, with a vote on it to come afterward.

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