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D300 proposes increase on ‘the lowest rate around’

Updated: December 19, 2012 12:33PM

ALGONQUIN — Community Unit School District 300 has proposed a $182 million total tax levy for 2012.

That amount is a 12.42 percent increase over the previous year, when the Carpentersville-based district actually had collected about $162 million, according to a presentation from CFO Susan Harkin to the school board.

“It’s always a scary number that we publish, but it never turns out to be that number,” board member Chris Stanton said.

That’s because tax caps in Chicago’s collar counties scale back any property tax increase to whichever is lower: 5 percent or the rate of inflation, which is about 3 percent this year. That keeps property taxes from increasing too rapidly when property values do.

The school district also will receive additional revenue from taxes on new property. It already has received preliminary information from Kane and McHenry counties, Harkin said, and projects it will bring in $25 million from all new property within the district in Kane, McHenry, Cook and DeKalb counties this year.

But it always must levy more than that to make sure that number, when scaled back, captures all new growth, she explained. Otherwise, the district cannot add in that growth later.

“The sad thing is your house values have gone down for three years, and yet you’re seeing your school district taxes are going up, frankly, the way the cap is set up,” Stanton said.

“In a good economy, for homeowners that’s a good thing. In this kind of economy, that’s not necessarily a good thing.”

That means, on average, taxpayers in the school district would pay about 3 percent more on their property taxes, depending on the equalized assessed valuation of their homes this year.

The Kane County treasurer’s website estimates Dundee Township residents paid about $4,009 in property taxes on a $150,000 house in 2011. A 3 percent increase on that would equal another $120.27 on those tax bills.

Board member Dave Alessio called that “the lowest rate around.”

“That’s why we have so much less money than other districts,” Alessio said.

The school board will hold a public hearing before voting on the levy at its regular board meeting next month.

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