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updated: 12/11/2013 12:44 PM

Homeowners to pay $21 more with ECC tax levy

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Elgin Community College will levy roughly $55.5 million in property taxes to fund operations next year, officials said Tuesday.

It amounts to a roughly 1 percent increase to the operating levy compared to last year, officials said. Those taxes are payable next year.

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The owner of a home valued at $250,000 would pay an additional $21 yearly, said Sharon Konny, vice president of business and finance.

The increase will affect taxpayers in 33 municipalities -- from Elgin to St. Charles and Hampshire to Algonquin -- across five counties that lie within the college's 360-square-mile boundary.

The entire $55 million will not end up on 2014 property tax bills. The property tax cap limits how much a government body can increase its levy by the Consumer Price Index, which is 1.7 percent for 2013, not including increased revenues from new construction.

"We usually receive between 82 percent and 86 percent of what we levy," Konny said. "We anticipate receiving about $47 million."

Konny said the college asked for $55 million the previous year as well, but received $46 million because of the tax cap.

"We know that we won't get the entire $55 million this year (which is the maximum the college can ask for)," she added.

The college is anticipating an increased in equalized assessed value of $60 million from new construction completed in 2013.

The college has a separate tax levy for the repayment of loans, which will amount to $15.7 million for 2013. That's an 18 percent increase over the previous year ($13.3 million), officials said.

Taxes collected in 2014 will fund the second half of academic year 2013-2014 operations, and the first half of the 2014-2015 academic year.

ECC's total budget for the 2013-2014 academic year is little more than $135 million, which is only partially funded by property taxes.

"Property tax revenues are about 60 percent of our operating revenues," said Heather Scholl, ECC finance controller. "The balance, we get about 25 to 27 percent from tuition and about 11 percent from the state."

State statute requires that community colleges receive one-third of their funding from the state, with the remainder funded equally through tuition and property taxes.

"The state isn't quite holding up their end of the bargain," Scholl added.

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