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Report: Chicago-area city debt rates are climbing

Published: Monday, Dec. 10, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO – A published report said at least 52 towns in the Chicago area have debt that exceeds 5 percent of the community’s property tax base.

The Chicago Tribune reported in its Sunday editions on its analysis of municipal debt in more than 270 communities in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.

The Tribune looked at general obligation bonds, which are big loans that cities promise to pay off even if it means raising taxes.

Until 1970, taxpayer-backed debt couldn’t exceed 5 percent of a community’s property tax base. A rewrite of the Illinois Constitution that year lifted the cap on borrowing.

Communities borrowed money for park and street upgrades, to buy and improve a golf course, and to build a new public works facility.

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