District 233 board OKs 2.5 percent tax levy increase

High School District 233 will collect 2.5 percent more in property taxes next year, if the Homewood-Flossmoor High School board approves its estimated levy in December.

Not every property owner will see an increase, as property values in the district also are expected to rise. The estimated levy, adopted unanimously by the board at its Nov. 21 meeting, is expected to draw the highest tax income available to the district by law.

“Historically, we want to capture all of the revenue that we can from parcels of land in the district,” said board President Steve Anderson. “I think it’s a priority to meet our fiduciary responsibilities and put the school district on a sound financial footing.”

Total property tax income for H-F would be $38,293,000 under the estimated levy. It would affect property tax bills for tax year 2017, which are paid in calendar year 2018. 

Over the past five years the levy has increased an average of 1.36 percent, according to Ken Parchem, H-F business manager. Increases in District 233 property assessments, including the new Meijer superstore in Flossmoor, will make a higher levy possible for next year, he said. Local assessments are expected to rise next year for the first time since 2011.

The levy is critical to H-F’s operations because a little more than 70 percent of its funding comes from property taxes. General state aid accounts for 16 percent of the district’s budget. The rest comes from restricted grants and other sources.

Changes in state law also will allow the district to levy more taxes directly into its education fund, which pays for most of the high school’s operations. Less money will be levied for such needs as insurance and transportation. Past law capped the district’s education fund levy. That required the district to levy larger amounts for other funds, then transfer the money to the education fund. 

A final vote on the levy is scheduled for the board’s Dec. 19, 2017 meeting.

 In other business, the board also heard an estimate of the cost for a proposed new “black box” theater facility at H-F. The construction project could cost $7 million to $8 million, “maybe $9 million at the high end,” according to H-F Superintendent Von Mansfield. 

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