SYCAMORE – The Sycamore School District 427 Board will ask for $24.8 million in property taxes for next school year’s budget but expects to receive less as the economy continues to struggle.
While the board must ask for the maximum it can receive to avoid tax cap regulations that would limit its taxing authority for years, the district expects to receive $24.3 million next year, which is only $800,000 in new money.
The modest increase is because of the plummeting property values and lack of new construction in the school district, said Luke Glowiak, assistant superintendent for business.
The equalized assessed value, which is roughly one-third of fair market value of all property within the school district, is projected to decrease for a third consecutive year at more than 9 percent.
The value, which is the tax base the board draws from, is expected to fall from $515,726,107 to $471,109,352. The all-time high in the district came in 2009 at $579,487,769.
Glowiak said the district had been experiencing increases of 12 percent in property values when the economy was strong, but now has a negative percentage change over a five-year average for the first time.
“It barely keeps pace with the [Consumer Price Index],” Glowiak said of the $800,000 in new money.
Board President Jim Dombek said the board would have to find ways to cut even though he had hoped last year’s levy request signified the bottom.
New construction showed the area still was struggling as it is projected to generate only $113,000 for the district.
And with no guarantee of improving property values and new construction next year, Dombek said needed improvements such as those outlined in presentations board members saw on technology upgrades and environmental improvements would be more daunting.
“Hopefully this represents the bottom now,” Dombek said. “We’ve trimmed things back pretty severely. Eventually you need some help on the revenue side.”
The board did not officially approve the levy request Tuesday. It must notify the public ahead of time and hold a public meeting on the issue in November.
The request must be filed with the DeKalb County clerk in December.
The clerk will set the final amount the district receives.