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Local

Sycamore School District 427 Board aims to lessen tax burden with levy reduction

Sycamore School District 427 Board approves 2018 levy

SYCAMORE – Property owners within the Sycamore School District 427 boundaries who have not had their homes reassessed may see a decrease in their tax bills with the district’s new tax levy.

The District 427 board voted, 7-0, to approve the 2018 tax levy during its meeting Tuesday at Sycamore Middle School.

The approval comes after the board approved a resolution to authorize the district to publish the 2018 preliminary tax levy resolution during its Oct. 23 meeting.

District 427 chief financial officer Nicole Stuckert said she thinks and hopes that taxpayers know that the district always is looking for ways to decrease the tax rate.

Fortunately, Stuckert said, that looks promising with home rates going up throughout the district.

“We have no desire to raise tax rates,” Stuckert said.

District 427 Board President Jim Dombek said it’s important for the board to be fiscally responsible in keeping costs down and to make sure there isn’t too much of a burden for taxpayers.

“We’re here to manage money in a frugal way, in a wa,y that exhibits good stewardship, and I think that showing that our tax rate is declining is one way to demonstrate that we’re doing that,” Dombek said.

The district is estimating the consumer price index will be 2.1 percent with an estimated increase in the equalized assessed valuation of 3 percent compared with last year’s EAV, according to Stuckert’s presentation Oct. 23.

If those numbers hold true when they are finalized in March, taxpayers who haven’t had their properties reassessed might see a decrease in their tax rate.

“Usually those don’t fluctuate unless for some reason the [county] assessor calls and sees something completely different for some reason,” Stuckert said. “Typically, your preliminary levy and your primary levy are the same dollar amounts.”

According to Stuckert’s presentation, the tax rate has been dropping since 2014, when it was recorded at 6.9796 percent. In 2017, the limiting rate was 6.23446 percent.

Dombek said property owners need to be aware that, even though the rate is going down from the district’s levy, they still might end up paying more taxes because the value of their house has increased.

“So the percentage we’re asking, even though it’s less of a percentage, it’s going to be more because the value of their house has increased,” Dombek said.

Stuckert said the bottom line for the existing taxpayer who owns a home valued at $100,000 will see a decrease of $14 from last year’s tax bill.

An owner of a $200,000 home will see a $27 decrease, a $300,000 homeowner will see a $39 decrease and a $400,000 home owner will see a
$52 decrease.

Stuckert said each taxing body that is part of the tax bill has its own calculation, and she didn’t know how each taxing body calculates its own levy.

Although the school district tax rate would result in a likely decrease in the district’s portion of the property tax bill, which is the largest portion at 61.2 percent, it still only accounts for part of the overall bill, she said.

Stuckert said she is unsure whether the school district will be taking out tax anticipation notes or warrants. She said she approaches the board first and she has yet to approach the subject with it.

“We usually broach that subject in January or February,” Stuckert said.

Stuckert said the school district has begun receiving payments of the $250,000 to $300,000 it anticipated receiving as part of the new school formula tier system. She said state dollars have no effect on the levy, because the levy is local.

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