School District 153 expects substantial benefit from Homewood home rule

If Homewood voters approve a home rule referendum March 20, it will have a special benefit for Homewood School District 153.
 
The school board on Dec. 11 approved an intergovernmental agreement with the village and gave its approval to a resolution outlining the benefits from the proposed sales tax hike.
 
With home rule approval, the village would increase its sales tax by one-quarter of one percent from 9 to 9.25 percent.  Although the village would collect the tax, it has worked out an agreement that the additional revenue will be shared with School District 153, Flossmoor District 161 and Homewood-Flossmoor High School District 233, the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District and the Homewood Library District.
 
These taxing bodies rely on property taxes. They get no benefit from sales taxes, but if Homewood gets home rule authority, that will change. 
 
The biggest beneficiary will be District 153, receiving 70 percent of the sales tax increase. The other taxing bodies will each get a 7.5 percent share of the tax. 
 
Originally the taxing bodies were being allocated specific dollar amounts based on a $1 million tax collection, but using percentages makes it easier to split the pie in the event that the revenue fluctuates.
 
“I think you’ll be comfortable with all the pieces of the agreement,” Superintendent Dale Mitchell told the board members before their vote. The agreement follows months of negotiations between the six parties.
 
If home rule is approved, there will be a delay in implementing the tax hike until January 2019 because of Cook County and State of Illinois timelines.
 
“(The tax) has the potential to really help our schools with additional much needed revenue,” said Board President Shelly Marks. 
 
She said many shoppers from outside Homewood will be helping to pay the tax when they shop “at our very attractive retail corridor” along Halsted Street.
 
Member Jim Schmidt pointed out that even with the tax increase, Homewood will have the second lowest sales tax in the immediate area.

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