District 304 approves 1 percent levy increase

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 6:26 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – The Geneva School District 304 board Monday approved a 1 percent levy increase in a 6-1 vote.

The total levy request for 2013 is nearly $80 million. The board could have approved the maximum allowable extension of 1.7 percent, or more than $80.5 million, but voted to levy nearly $650,000 less. 

The district’s 2012 levy was $78.5 million.

The percent that can be requested is based on the consumer price index.

Taxing bodies in Illinois make their levy requests to the county based on what they need and the equalized assessed value of property within the district.

The 1 percent levy request would increase property taxes on a house with a fair market value at $315,000 by $305, officials said.

Sandra Ellis of the taxpayer watchdog group, TaxFACTS, said even a zero percent levy would bring in more than $2 million to
the education fund, Ellis said.

“When are you going to stop the trend of increasing the tax levy?” Ellis said. “You should vote ‘no’ on increasing [the] levy tonight.”

TaxFACTS co-founder Bob McQuillan said enrollment has declined, but expenditures increase.

“We are now in a situation where the assessed value on our homes and the enrollment is declining – and district costs are rising,” McQuillan said. “Where does this nightmare end?”

Assistant Superintendent for Business Donna Oberg said the district has taken about $1.7 million less than it could have levied two years in a row.

“I think it’s great to be doing these reductions in the levy, I don’t know how much we will be able to sustain that,” Oberg said. 

Board member David Lamb cautioned that the district would have a deficit in 2015 if the board did not levy for what is needed.

“I think we are levying what we should at 1 percent,” Lamb said. “We are going to be drawing down our reserves.”

McCormick cast the lone “no” vote, as he did when the board voted on the levy resolution last month.

McCormick supported a zero percent levy increase.

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Jan Schlictmann at a Geneva law firm.

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