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Elgin Community College OKs 3 percent increase in tax levy

Updated: January 14, 2013 7:22AM

ELGIN — The Elgin Community Board of Trustees approved a 3 percent tax levy increase at its December meeting Tuesday.

But unlike the meeting the night before in Community Unit School District 300, at which school board members also voted on a tax levy increase, there was no packed-out board room. And there were no public comments against the increase.

There just was Trustee Bob Getz, who said he couldn’t vote for the annual increase “until I see the same efforts (to save money) for our taxpayers as I see for our students.”

Getz cast the lone vote against the $55 million total tax levy for 2012.

Included in that vote was Trustee Risé Jones, who was appointed to fill John Dalton’s term through the April elections and seated earlier in the meeting.

The amount of the 2012 levy is a 3.03 percent increase over the last year’s, when the community college had levied $53 million and actually received about $43.5 million, it has said.

Elgin Community College likely will collect 82 to 86 percent of what it levies, or about $46.7 million, it has said. That’s because tax caps in Chicago’s collar counties scale back any property tax increase to the rate of inflation, or about 3 percent this year.

The college — like other local governmental bodies — doesn’t know how much it might receive in property taxes, officials have said. They said that’s why the college must estimate high to capture any growth, which cannot be added later.

That money makes up 60 to 65 percent of the community college’s revenues.

Getz characterized that as “hitting our taxpayers with the absolute max we could hit them with.”

And while levy increases are routine, the burden on the taxpayers kept both Getz and Dalton from voting for last year’s resolution.

But Trustee John Duffy said Tuesday, “I respectfully disagree with Trustee Getz that we are not doing anything for our taxpayers.”

“I believe our finance department works diligently throughout the year to save every possible dollar we can to the benefit of our taxpayers,” Duffy said, “and not to give them credit for what they do for our taxpayers would be a disservice.”

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