D122 Tax Levy Increases by 15 Percent in 2010
Despite increase, district realistically expects to garner less than what it is seeking.
Ridgeland School District 122 board members approved a $17.5 million tax levy but expect to receive less when the 2010 property tax bills come out next fall.
The 2010 tax levy represents a 15-percent increase over the 2009 tax levy. Because the levy increase was more than 5 percent, the school board held a public hearing Dec. 15 at the Dist. 122 administrative office as required by law.
Assistant Superintendent Eric Trimberger explained that the $17.5 million figure represented a balloon levy that operates as a safety net to capture all possible tax dollars coming to the district should equalized assessed valuations and new property estimates change drastically.
The 15-percent increase in the balloon levy represents Dist. 122's operating costs; combined with cash bonds, the balloon levy is about 11 percent, Trimberger said.
Such additional property tax revenue can come from new construction or, as was the case four years ago, the retirement of TIF districts in Oak Lawn.
"Which I don't see a whole lot going on right now in this economy," Trimberger said of new construction in Oak Lawn.
Although the elementary school district is asking for $17.5 million, Trimberger realistically expects the district to collect around $15.6 million after the 2010 property tax bills are mailed out next fall.
The 2009 tax levy has so far captured about $15.2 million in tax revenue. The expected return on the 2010 tax levy is an increase of $410,000.
"We certainly made sure there was enough cushion in that amount to make sure we didn't lose any tax revenue," Trimberger said.
The levy is based on the December 2009 2.7 percent Consumer Price Index or 5 percent of the EAV of property in Oak Lawn. The levy also takes into account new property growth estimates in 2010.
The problem, Trimberger said, is that those figures will not be known until next September or October, when the 2010 property tax bills come out.
While home market values have declined, Trimberger said that in Cook County's southwest triad, the tax burden has shifted from commercial to residential property owners.
In 2008, residents' portion of the assessed value was 68 percent; now it's 72 percent, thanks to Cook County's "10/25 ordinance."
The 10/25 ordinance that was passed by the Cook County Board of Commissioners in 2009 portends to reduce and clarify assessment levels. Where there used to be six assessment levels, there are now two under the new law, according to the Cook County Assessor's website. The assessed value of a residential property represents 10 percent of the market value; and 25-percent market value of commercial property.
In the 2009 tax bill, residential property owners' tax burden has increased by 4 percent, while commercial properties declined by 4 percent. Part of the issue, Trimberger said, is that residential properties were underassessed by the county and business properties were overassessed.
"The district only received about an extra $30,000 from existing property owners in the district, but (homeowners') bills went up much more than that," Trimberger said. "The district wasn't necessarily getting any more money. When the burden shifts, the homeowners are paying more and the businesses paying less."
The public hearing concluded with no comments from community residents. School board members unanimously passed the levy. Distritc 122 has until Dec. 28 to file its levy request.