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updated: 11/5/2012 7:01 PM

Diamond Lake District 76 considers increase in property tax levy

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Property owners in Diamond Lake Elementary District 76 could see a bump in their tax bills next year as a rate freeze associated with a voter-approved tax hike four years ago expires.

The school board will discuss the proposed 2012 tax levy and will accept public comment at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the West Oak Middle School library, 500 Acorn Lane, Mundelein.

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The amount of property taxes extended last year in the levy was about $10.3 million. The district is considering raising the levy amount in order to receive about $11.3 million in property taxes, the same amount as in 2008.

District 76, like many other districts, historically had asked for more tax money than it expected to get in order to capture the full amount allowed under the tax cap law. That limits the amount of increased taxes to 5 percent or the consumer price index, whichever is less.

In 2008, voters approved a tax rate hike that allowed the district to refinance its debt. At the time, it reduced taxes used for bond payments, essentially amounting to a tax "swap" that kept the operating tax rate the same the past four years.

Because of that and a continued drop in property value, tax revenues have decreased the past two years, according to the district.

For 2012, District 76 hopes to capture the maximum allowed property tax increase.

The decision for the board will be to approve the full levy amount, which will net about 9 percent more than last year or approve less than the amount allowed.

Approval of the tentative tax levy is set for Nov. 13 and the final figure is scheduled to be approved Dec. 18.

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