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District 304 supports 1.5 percent tax levy hike

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – The Geneva School District 304 board voted unanimously Monday for a resolution supporting a 1.5 percent tax levy increase in its operating fund, less than the 2 percent recommended by staff and the finance committee.

Citing hard economic times for the community, the amount board members supported means officials have to make $901,500 in cuts – larger than the $600,000 in reductions the board discussed last week.

The total levy for all the district’s funds is just less than $81 million. Last year’s levy was $78 million.

Taxing bodies in Illinois make their levy requests to the county based on the equalized assessed value of property within the district. Final action will be taken next month.

Board President Mark Grosso noted the board came from tough contract talks with the teachers union and now has to face the levy.

“One of the things out of the teachers negotiations I took away were the hundreds of emails that we get from families,” Grosso said. “A lot of stories of sacrifice that they had things to do without, homes that were lost, everything you can imagine. I guess for me, personally, I would probably lean toward 1.5 percent even though it means we have to do some belt-tightening. I think that would be consistent with the same message we’ve been telling our employees and is what our community would expect from us.”

A 1.5 percent levy increase would hike property taxes on a home with an equalized assessed value of $315,000 by $340, officials said. The tax rate would increase by .34 to 6.06 per $100 EAV.

Resident Bob McQuillan, co-founder of a tax watchdog group TaxFACTS, challenged the increase in the levy request, saying it should be zero.

“I believe the 1.5 percent levy recommendation is too high,” McQuillan said. “You are coming to us asking for more money and we are telling you, ‘There is no more money.’ Does that sound familiar? It seems that the tables have changed.”

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