School Board discusses tentative Tax Levy

By on November 18, 2013

KANELAND—The Kaneland community on Monday had the chance to weigh in on the tentative Tax Levy recently proposed by the Kaneland School Board.

The requested amount is $52,210,825, and includes operating levy amounts and bond and interest amount. The operating levy is $42,345,200.

Close to three dozen people packed the meeting room at Harter Middle School, including Kaneland taxpayers and parents, community leaders and district employees.

Elburn resident Dave Filipski stood up to express his concern. He said that he works for the private sector, and that since 2006, his pay had gone down and he has not been receiving yearly increases.

“We just paid our taxes and everybody was having a good time,” he said.

He spoke about taxing bodies, like the forest preserve, police, fire and road departments, having an “it’s only” dollar amount.

“We’re strapped,” Filipski said. “And we’re strapped hard.”

Sugar Grove resident Dan Borowiak talked on behalf of clients he has in his Sugar Grove business.

“You’re seeing a great deal of pain out there,” Borowiak said.

Elburn resident and district teacher Lynn McHenry spoke in favor of the levy and noted the consequences if it did not pass, including many large class sizes and the loss of teachers.

The tentative levy had been approved by the majority of the Kaneland School Board on Oct. 28. The two board members who voted against the levy were Valente and Pedro Rivas.

The proposed levy would mean a tax increase for homeowners, and would pay for things such as programs, services, operating costs and salaries for the 2014-15 school year.

At the Oct. 28 School Board meeting, Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, assistant superintentendent for Business, gave examples of assessed home values ranging from $200,000 to $500,000. For example, a home valued at $200,000 in 2012 had an approximate tax bill for the Kaneland District of $4,479. If the home’s assessed value remained static between 2012 and 2013, its approximate tax bill for this year would be $4,904, or an increase of $425.

However, suppose the above-mentioned $200,000 home experienced a 7 percent decrease in value between 2012 and 2013. Now valued at $186,000, the home’s tax bill would be $4,561, or an increase of $82.

Thus, the range in tax bill increase for a home valued at $200,000 last year is $82 to $425, depending on how much the home’s value has decreased.

Provided home value has not shifted between 2012 and 2013, a $300,000 home would see a tax increase of $638. A $400,000 home would experience a tax increase of $850, while a $500,000 home would see its tax bill increase $1,063.

At a 7 percent decrease in value, a home valued at $300,000 last year would see a tax bill increase of $123, while a $400,000 home would see a tax bill bump of $164. A home once valued at $500,000 would now be worth $465,000, and would see a tax increase of $205.

Fuchs provided new information at the Monday meeting about DeKalb County. In her levy update report, she noted that the estimated EAV from DeKalb property is estimated to decline about 7 percent. This is similar to Kane County’s estimated decrease. New DeKalb County construction is estimated to be $100,000. She wrote that an estimated new construction amount of $3,200,000 had been used in the estimated new construction amount for the levy formula. She noted that she is not recommending changes to the tentative levy amount the board had approved.

Fuchs provided three option scenarios. Option 1 is as noted, with a CPI of 1.7 percent where the average increase ranges from $425 to $1,063 for home values ranging from $200,000 to $500,000.

Option 2 with a 1.2 percent CPI, the average increase would be $405 to $1,014. Option 3 with a .7 percent CPI range is from $386 to $965. Option 4 has a .0 percent CPI and the average increase is $359 to $897.

“The difference between the 1.7 percent and 0 percent to the taxpayer is estimated to be between $66 and $166, but the decrease to the district would be about $688,000 less if the board levied the 0 percent,” Fuchs later said.

Tension and tempers flared during the meeting.

“We’re taxing people out of their homes,” School Board member Tony Valente said. “I can not stand here and allow you to do that.”

Valente also questioned Fuchs about the Special Education fund in regard to July 31 through now.

“What has changed in the Special Ed fund?” Valente asked. “What has changed in the Special Ed fund that has warranted us doubling that amount?”

Fuchs explained that the education fund has maxed its tax rate and EAV has dropped.

“You’re robbing Peter to pay Paul,” Valente said.

Board member Peter Lepatin weighed in on the matter, stating that Special Education is subsidized with General education dollars.

“That is correct,” Fuchs said.