Flossmoor’s proposed tax levy points to positive fiscal trends

As Flossmoor village board members prepare to act on their final fiscal responsibility of the calendar year — approving the tax levy — there’s good financial news.
 
Board members Monday approved an estimated municipal tax levy that shows a 3.36 percent increase over last year’s number. The final levy amount is to be approved at the Dec. 4 meeting. 
 
The tax levy is a projection of how much property tax money is needed to support local municipal services. According to the estimated amount approved Monday, the village’s 2017 total levy is $6,453,366. After final approval, the levy will be forwarded to the Cook County Clerk’s office, where it will be used to help set property tax rates for the coming year. It’s all part of an extremely complicated process.
 
Overall, the new tax levy shows that Flossmoor is holding the line on spending despite increased costs. The 2016 village levy was set at $6,300,590 and represented a 4.7 percent increase over the previous year.
 
Scott Bordui, Flossmoor’s finance director, Monday broke down a number of important figures indicating that village finances are heading in the right direction.
 
For example, the village’s equalized assessed valuation (EAV) went up for the first time since 2011. Bordui said the EAV — the overall taxable worth of property — dropped 38 percent in the last four years, a development that can mostly be tied to the economic downturn following the 2008 recession.
 
In 2016, Flossmoor’s the EAV was set at $210,784,601, an increase of 9.5 percent over the previous year. The EAV is still considerably lower than its highest level, $310,504,571 in 2010.  But the village appears to have emerged from the stagnant economic condition of recent years.
 
Much of the EAV jump can be attributed to the opening of Flossmoor’s Meijer superstore in June 2015. Based on data from the Cook County Assessor’s office, Meijer has an EAV of more than $9 million. Last year’s levy included $6,675,535 in EAV from Meijer. Bordui, in a memo to the board, said the new levy will include an additional $2.4 million in EAV from Meijer.
 
Without counting Meijer’s value on the tax rolls, Flossmoor’s EAV still would have increased by 5.9 percent in the last year. That would seem to reflect an increase in the sale price of homes in the village.
 
It’s important that the full amount is included in the new levy so that the village does not lose out on any revenue when the county sets property tax rates next year, Bordui said. Tax rates are usually released by the county in late summer.
 
That’s also the case with other new commercial developments currently under construction in the village. Buona Beef and a building for Starbucks and an AT&T store are being built at the Meijer complex on Vollmer Road at Crawford Avenue. A building for medical offices is being renovated at 19831 Governors Highway.
 
Bordui said the new projects have an estimated EAV of $2,262,000. Although it is likely that none of them will open until next year, he said their estimated value should be part of the 2017 levy.
 
“However, like the Meijer increment, we cannot afford to leave it out for 2017 because we would not be able to go back retroactively if the new property or any portion thereof hits assessed values in 2017,” he said in his memo.
 
The village’s property tax rate for 2016 was set at 2.962, a small decline from the year before. In Flossmoor, a community known for its fiscal conservatism, village officials often point out that the village only takes in about 15 percent of local property taxes. The two local school districts are responsible for 66 percent of this year’s property tax bills.
 
A public hearing will also be conducted on Dec. 4 since the combined village and Flossmoor Public Library levy show an increase of greater than 5 percent from last year.

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