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updated: 10/17/2013 11:48 PM

Proposed District 211 levy $2.5 million more than 2012

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The Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 board of education Thursday night reviewed a proposed 2013 property tax levy that's 1.2 percent larger than the previous year's levy.

More than 30 residents attended the meeting, including some who held protest signs that read messages like "Do not raise our taxes" and "Stop being greedy."

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The levy is the amount of property tax revenue the district is requesting from taxpayers. Local property taxes account for 86 percent of the district's total revenue.

Associate Superintendent for Business Dave Torres said the 2013 proposed levy is 2.2 percent, or $4.6 million higher, than the 2012 levy extension.

That 2.2 percent includes an increase of 1.7 percent in accordance with the established tax limitation amount for this year, along with a 0.2 percent increase from access to new property, which is the result of the expiration of the Olde Schaumburg tax increment financing district that had limited how much tax money went to local governments.

In addition to the tax levy increase, the board is being asked to approve a two-year extension of the debt service reduction plan that has been in place since 2007. It will provide a $2 million decrease in the 2013 and 2014 levy.

Factoring in the debt service levy and the $2 million abatement, the total 2013 levy will amount to $212.2 million, an increase of $2.5 million -- or 1.2 percent -- over the 2012 total levy.

Nearly a dozen people spoke out against the levy at the meeting. Many criticized the district's reserves, which are well above the level recommended by the state.

"I think that the systematic accumulation of such massive surpluses is something that is an indicator for me that there is no compelling case for a tax increase this year," said Len Green of Palatine.

John Parker of Schaumburg said he believes the "overwhelming majority" of people in the community believe the district should tighten the budget, keep the levy flat and give taxpayers the best level of education that they can afford.

Torres said it is difficult to predict how the tax bill for an individual property owner will change due to many factors in the Cook County property tax system, including changes in equalized assessed valuation.

"Our Cook County assessment process is not equitable to all taxpayers. It favors businesses," he said, adding that there has been a shift in the tax burden in recent years.

At the end of his presentation on the tax levy, Torres said legislation is needed to address the growing tax burden shift from businesses to residential property owners and to modify the tax cap law for various reasons, including giving taxing bodies the ability to recover revenue losses from commercial refunds.

None of the board members made any comments on the tax levy during the meeting.

The board is scheduled to determine the amount of the proposed 2013 levy on Nov. 14. A final approval by the board is set for Dec. 12, after a public hearing on the proposed levy.

Information about the tax levy is available at www.boarddocs.com/il/thsd211/Board.nsf/Public.

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