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D-428 property tax levy hearing set for Dec. 18

Published: Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – The public will be able to sound off on DeKalb School District 428’s property tax levy at a Dec. 18 meeting.

On Tuesday, the school board approved a property tax levy request of $49.2 million, which includes roughly $4.7 million in debt service. The levy is the amount of money a school district or other government body seeks in property taxes. The property tax rate generally equates to the levy divided by the equalized assessed value for property throughout the school district.

Not counting the levy associated with the bonds it issued, the district is asking for $44.5 million, but is expecting to get $44.1 million, said Andrea Gorla, assistant superintendent for financial and business services.

The 2011 tax rate, which is funding this current school year, was $6.22 per $100 in equalized assessed value. Gorla said the district expects the 2012 tax rate to jump to $6.99 per $100. And it’s not because of the district’s bonds, she said.

“That’s the phenomenon we’re experiencing right now because of declining EAV,” Gorla said.

Property values between 2011 and 2012 fell 8.13 percent – or a loss in value of $61 million.

Between 2011 and 2012, the tax rate associated with the district’s bonds rose 5 cents, from $0.62 per $100 in EAV to $0.67 per $100 in EAV. Gorla said this small increase is proof that the referendum the district passed to help build the new high school is not driving up the tax rate.

Gorla said the public has a right to lobby for a lower tax levy at the Dec. 18 hearing, but that could create financial problems for the district, which is operating on a $2.3 million deficit for the 2012-13 school year.

Even though they are limited, property taxes are how the school district receives the majority of its funding. They made up 69 percent of the district’s budget for this school year. Gorla added that District 428 expects to receive less money from the state and the federal government this year.

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