If you live in Maine Township High School District 207, you can expect an increase on your property tax bill.
Board members voted 5-1 to raise the tax levy 4.19% at Monday’s board meeting. Some noted that the state of Illinois, which is saddled with pension costs, may shift responsibility for those costs to individual school districts.
The total amount of the levy is $109,114,250. Taxpayers who pay an annual property tax of $6,000 will see an increase of about $45. For those with an annual tax bill of $12,000, double that.
Property owners in Des Plaines and Park Ridge who live in D207 pay about 25% of their total property tax bills to the high school district.
The D207 has raised the levy by the legal limits within the consumer price index every year since the inception of tax caps.
The actual tax hike is three percent for existing home owners, but to receive revenue from new property, D207 has to ask for more than the three percent in case that new property does not raise the revenue that is currently estimated. The Rivers Casino is Des Plaines is by far the most prominent new property in the area and this will be the first year totally on the local tax rolls.
D207 members appear to be preparing themselves for either less money coming in from Springfield or the state shifting pension liability from the state to the individual districts as the state tries to alleviate its massive pension shortfall that might be as high as $95 billion.
Eric Leys, the D207 representative to Illinois Association of School Boards, as well as the D207 Finance Committee Chairman voted for the increase but like many others in the suburbs is very concerned about what could happen in Springfield.
“I think if the legislature should move forward with this pension activity, it has the effect of spreading a financial cancer to local school districts throughout the state,” Leys said.
But fellow member Edward Mueller did not believe the levy increase was necessary. “I think there are other savings that can be made,” he said. “You can always cut the budget, you can look at class sizes and a lot of different things.”
But Mueller turned out to be the only dissenting vote with member Donna Pellar absent.
“I don’t think anybody wants to raise taxes,” D207 President Sean Sullivan said. “It’s important that we offer the ultimate in services and academics to our students.”