District 65 adopts 6.3 percent levy
Superintendent Hardy Murphy originally requested a resolution authorizing up to $19.5 million in bonds over the next three years. | File photo
Updated: January 28, 2013 3:19PM
Most homeowners in Evanston-Skokie School District 65 can expect their property taxes to rise about 3 percent during 2013 under a tax levy adopted by the Board of Education last week.
Although the district requested an increase more than twice that size, owners of existing homes will pay no more than 3 percent above their 2012 taxes, barring any unexpected increases in their equalized assessed valuation, said Mary Brown, chief financial officer for District 65.
The board voted unanimously on Dec. 17 to approve a levy requesting 6.3 percent more in property taxes than the county granted to the district in 2012.
District 65 requested taxes above the mandated tax cap of 3 percent in order to capture the taxes for any newly developed property in the district, said Brown said.
“We don’t know what new property there will be until we get the final levy extension,” Brown explained. “Sometimes we don’t receive the final extension until as late as October or November of the following year.”
For that reason, the district must estimate the increased value of the new development almost a year in advance, she said. “We don’t want to leave that money on the table, so we levy above the limit.”
The Cook County Clerk will ultimately reduce District 65’s levy increase to the mandated 3 percent and then add the increase tax value of new development, Brown said.
“The county will never increase the levy request,” she said. “If we made an error or new property value came in higher than we anticipated, they will not adjust it up.”
Among the nine funds in the levy, the increase is reflected primarily in the education purposes fund, Brown said.
“We over-levy in the education fund, which is the largest fund, so that any additional funds for new property will fall into that fund,” she said. “When the county reduces the levy, they will reduce the education fund.”
The vast majority of District 65’s cost are covered by the education fund, including teacher salaries, textbooks, and classroom-related costs, Brown said.
Tom Lane of Evanston was the only resident to speak during a public hearing on the levy during the board’s Dec. 17 meeting. Lane asked how much the 6.3 percent increase would affect the average homeowner in the district.
Based on the tax caps, residents should expect a 3 percent increase, Brown said. Anything above the 3 percent would be collected from owners of newly developed property, she said.
Taxes for the levy approved on Dec. 17 are due during 2013, Brown said. The first payment is due in the spring and the balance in the fall, she said. ~.