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Local News

New Lenox School D122 board approves tax levy

The NLSD122 Board of Education approved the 2020 tax levy.
The NLSD122 Board of Education approved the 2020 tax levy.

The New Lenox School District 122 tax bill is estimated to increase about 2.7% for 2020, which equates to $83 on a $250,000 home, according the district. A tax levy is a request for funds and a tax extension is the actual amount collected by the taxing body.

The levy was approved by the board on Tuesday.

Districts estimate their expected future extension and submit a levy based on that estimate. The 2019 operating tax extension was $46.5 million and is expected to increase to $48.1 million for 2020.

Business manager Bob Groos said the district always posts and asks for a higher levy because if it underestimates, it cannot receive more and that money is lost. He said the actual amount always comes back less than that what was levied for.

The district states that property taxes and tax bills typically increase each year. Tax bills go up about 2.5% per year because of inflation and debt payments. Tax revenues go up about 3.6% per year because of inflation, debt and new property.

The rate of inflation used for the 2020 levy calculation is 2.3%, which was the 2019 national inflation rate. Existing property values in new Lenox increased by about 2.79% during 2020, Groos stated. New Lenox also had about $17 million in new property development.

The debt service extension was $11.5 million in 2019 and is expected to increase to $11.98 million in 2020. The debt service payment is a big chunk of the bill, Groos said.

"It is used to pay off bond payments for the buildings built 15 to 20 years ago," he said.

Property taxes fund 82% of D122 and the state funds 12%. State revenues have decreased $1.5 million over the last 10 years, Groos said.

And over the last 10 years, D122’s average expenditure increase has been 1.2%.

Throughout the years, D122 has implemented strategies to minimize property tax increases, the document states. It has used cash reserves for building maintenance and other necessary renovations. It continues to maintain a budget and build reserves for future projects.

"Without the increase, the district would have to reduce staff, programs and services, defer crtical facility maintenance and renovation, reduce cash reserves and sell additional debt," Groos said.

It also plans to pay down debt owed on the buildings, which is $24 million, over the next five years.

The district's website has more information about the levy with charts of information pertaining to tax payers.

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