DANVILLE — The Danville school board today (Wednesday) will launch a discussion on the district's proposed 2011 tax levy.
Business and Finance Director Heather McKiernan said she will present board members with several levy options at a special study session.
The Danville school board will hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St., Danville. A copy of the agenda is available online at http://bit.ly/vVripN.
"We know the district's equalized assessed valuation of property is going to decrease again," McKiernan said. "How much is anyone's guess and that's not something you want to be guessing at.
"That's why we have to go over different scenarios on what we can levy," she continued, adding, "We want to make sure we maximize our dollars without increasing the tax rate."
Under the 2010 levy, officials raised about $19.25 million in property taxes for the district with a tax rate that was about $4.90 per $100 of assessed valuation. Property taxes and corporate replacement taxes make up about 36 percent of the district's revenue.
"We'd like to keep it at about that level if we can," McKiernan said.
Last year, the Vermilion County supervisor of assessments office projected that the district's assessed value of about $402.6 million would increase about 1 1/2 percent. It actually decreased by about 4 percent, to about $386.9 million.
"We saw a decrease of $650,759 to our funds last year," McKiernan said, adding district officials prepared for the drop.
While the district levied a slight increase over the previous year's amounts for the education, operations and maintenance, transportation, working cash and fire safety funds — all restricted funds — in order to try to capture any additional growth, it lowered the levy for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund and Social Security Fund by about $48,000 and kept the levy for the tort fund level.
"That's how we were able to keep the tax rate from varying a lot," McKiernan said.
However, McKiernan said those funds may need more money this year. She said that last year, the district levied about $1.05 million for the tort fund — which covers the costs for legal fees, property insurance, workers' compensation and some salaries of staff that deal with safety issues regularly — but spent about $1.4 million in that fund.
"We had to dip into the fund reserve by $365,000 to cover the shortfall," McKiernan said, adding that this year, the salaries of the two new middle school resource officers also will be paid out of that fund. "We can't continue to do that. In three years, we won't have anything to fall back on."
The board must hold a public hearing on the proposed levy and then on whether to adopt it in the next few weeks. It must be filed with the Vermilion County clerk's office by the end of December.