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Batavia residents asking school board to ‘lower the levy’

Published: Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

BATAVIA – Residents plan to attend Tuesday’s Batavia School District 101 Board meeting to request the school board lower the district’s proposed levy.

“They want a break,” said Batavia resident Sylvia Keppel, who started a website, www.lowerthelevy.com. “They need a break.”

The school board meeting will begin at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Rosalie Jones Administration Center, 335 W. Wilson St., Batavia. The hearing on the school district’s 2013 tax levy, payable in 2014, will begin at 7 p.m.

The meeting will be streamed live online on BATV beginning at 6:45 p.m. To accommodate additional attendees who don’t plan to make public comments, a satellite location will be set up at Batavia High School, 1201 Main St.

To drive their point across, Keppel and others have posted 100 “Lower The Levy” yard signs across the city. Batavia School District 101 has proposed a $73 million levy, up from last year’s $66 million extension.

As proposed, the owner of a home valued at about $230,000 would see taxes decrease by about $20 next year.

Assistant Superintendent for Finance Kris Monn has said this year’s levy will need to be large enough to capture all of the equalized assessed value returning to the district’s tax base from the expiration of Aurora’s tax increment financing district No. 2, which includes the Chicago Premium Outlets mall in Aurora and significant industrial properties in the Interstate 88 corridor.

“The projected EAV from these properties is just above $92 million,” Monn said. “Without these properties, our levy request would have been approximately 1.6 percent higher than last year, not the 12.92 percent we are recommending with the TIF properties returned.”

School officials said the addition of the tax revenue from the Aurora TIF No. 2 properties has allowed the school board to begin to restore some of the reductions made over the past four years, especially in the area of class size and instructional support.

Keppel has proposed that the money from TIF No. 2 be distributed back to taxpayers through a decrease in the levy.

“If that money were to be distributed to the tax base, that would result in a drop in property taxes for the average homeowner of a $240,000 house of nearly $400,” Keppel said.

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