Dist. 117 to Hold Public Hearing on Tax Levy

By Jeremy Coumbes on November 21, 2022 at 2:28pm

District 117 is forced to ask for more property tax money this year in order to receive the normal amount.

The Jacksonville District 117 School Board began its tax levy process for the coming year last night during the regular November Board Meeting.

The School Board approved resolutions to abate the taxes from the current year to pay obligations to school bonds and also approved the 2022 tentative tax levy.

Chief Financial Officer for the district, Richard Cunningham presented the board members with a breakdown of the tentative levy and why the process is altered this year due to existing state law.

Superintendent Steve Ptacek says this year’s levy is going to look different due to the Consumer Price Index, commonly known as CPI. “Every year when we put the tax levy together, what the basics are is that we take the amount of money we collected last year in property taxes and under PTELL tax caps and we are allowed to increase that value at CPI or 5% whatever is lower.

Over the last twenty-five years that has averaged around 2.5%, this year it’s 7%. So this is the first time in decades that the percent aspect of that law has triggered versus just CPI.”

By law District 117 is only allowed to increase last year’s total collected tax dollars by 5%. Then the rate the taxpayers are paying is applied to any new construction in the school taxing district, and Ptacek says that’s where things change this year over previous years.

We’ve got in EAV, assessed value, about another $2.6 million in new property that they so far have assessed in the district. Now that would mean it would take it above 5%, because the 5% is what we are allowed to ask above the existing property, plus the money on the new construction, so that means we have to have a truth in taxation hearing, anytime it goes over 5%.”

State law requires that public notice and hearings are held any time a proposed increase is more than 105% of the previous year’s amount, causing the need for the truth in taxation hearing.

The annual tax levy makes up about 56% of Jacksonville School District 117’s yearly funding. Ptacek says with the consumer price index dictating the levy amount this year, the district has to ask for a bigger piece of the pie, in order to get the same size slice it has in years past.

So we’re asking for much more, it’s called a balloon levy. In case new construction comes into play, the windmills are coming online, and solar farms are getting put in. But when we balloon that the county office limits that to what is legally required. Which would be for existing dollars 5% or CPI whichever is lower.”

Ptacek says, by comparison, last year District 117 requested 4.9% out of the 5% maximum request, and after taxes were figured and distributed received approximately 2.4%. This year the ask will have to be greater to make sure the end result is the same.

A truth in taxation hearing will be held in December to notify the public what the official requested percent will be and what is anticipated to actually be received.