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Article updated: 4/9/2013 11:05 AM

Property values in DuPage drop; taxes don't

By Robert Sanchez

DuPage County homeowners can expect to pay more property taxes to school districts and other local governments, even though land values continue to plummet.

The overall value of land in DuPage decreased last year by 8 percent, to roughly $34.6 billion. At the same time, the average tax rate for the county's 384 taxing bodies -- the other half of the tax equation -- increased 11.73 percent.

As a result, property owners countywide are going to pay an average of 3.73 percent more on their tax bills this year, which are due in equal installments in June and September.

County Clerk Gary King talked about falling property values Monday as part of the annual release of DuPage's tax rates.

King said no one predicted the significant drop in the taxable value of land that began three years ago.

"Land values are decreasing like everywhere else in the state of Illinois," said King, adding the trend is expected to continue for at least another year.

Meanwhile, the total number of taxable parcels in the county dropped slightly from 334,899 in 2011 to 334,799 in 2012.

"With the economy, there's no new buildings going in," King said. "DuPage is running out of land anyway. I don't think you're ever going to see the big years of growth that we used to have."

County officials stress that just because the value of someone's home dropped doesn't mean the person will pay less in property taxes.

Governmental entities ask for specific amounts of tax dollars each year.

Since 1991, a state-imposed cap limits most of those governments to increases of 5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.

But the Consumer Price Index doubled from 1.5 percent in 2011 to 3 percent in 2012. And districts across DuPage sought more money through their levies.

When the total tax take is distributed among fewer taxpayers, the increase individuals see is greater.

"If there's less people paying for the bill, everybody pays more," said Paul Hinds, DuPage's chief deputy clerk.

Residents can expect their property tax bills to arrive next month.

In DuPage, school districts take most of the tax bill, or 73.24 percent. Municipalities constitute 9.8 percent of the bill and park districts comprise 5.1 percent.

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