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updated: 11/12/2013 10:52 AM

District 300 to seek higher property tax levy

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Community Unit District 300 officials have set the district's preliminary levy at about $200 million -- a figure that would raise the average homeowner's tax bill -- but officials stress that the figure is a placeholder until the county clerks gives them the valuation of the district's property in April.

The district -- which lies within Kane, Cook, McHenry and DeKalb counties -- is asking for $200 million to ensure it captures the value of new and existing property values, Chief Financial Officer Susan Harkin said. If it underestimates what it needs, it won't be able to recapture the difference, she said.

"Right now, we're overestimating our request," Chief Financial Officer Susan Harkin said. "Because we've had such volatility in our property values, the equalized assessed valuation of what people's properties are worth, we won't know where that settles until April."

Harkin expects 2013's projected levy to be $173.2 million, about $2.9 million more than 2012's. About $1.6 million would come from new property owners while current property owners would pay the remaining $1.3 million.

If the $173.2 million estimation holds true, the owner of a home valued at $200,000 would pay $4,213 in property taxes, a figure $28 more than last year. The tax rate would be 6.32 percent, a 1.71-percentage-point increase over 2012.

The bulk of the money generated from the increase -- $96 million -- would go into the education fund for salaries and benefits for the state's sixth largest school district.

Roughly $22 million would go toward special education and $17.8 million would go for operations and maintenance. The rest would be spread among transportation, municipal retirement, Social Security, working cash, workers' compensation and general liability insurance.

A public hearing on the tentative levy amount is scheduled for Dec. 19. T he district will finalize the levy in April after officials receive tax reports from the four county clerks.

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