Champaign school district seeking an $8.4 million tax boost

Champaign school district seeking an $8.4 million tax boost

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign school district wants to levy for an $8.4 million boost in property taxes next year but is projecting the increase would have a minimal impact on the tax rate paid by property owners.

The bulk of the proposed levy increase would be in corporate and special purpose property taxes tied to operation of the school district, while just a sliver of it would be tied to paying down the debt for the school construction projects approved in a 2016 referendum, according to Tom Lockman, Unit 4's chief financial and legal officer.

"We are projecting the change in the total rate would be minimal and unrelated to the referendum amount," he said.

Property owners saw the major increase from the referendum, which launched $183.4 million in school building projects, on their 2017 taxes paid earlier this year, Lockman said.

The school district plans to hold a public hearing on its 2018 levy for taxes payable next year at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Mellon Administrative Center, 703 S. New St., C.

The hearing is a legally-required step before the school board approves its levy request this month.

What the school district asks for in its tax levy isn't necessarily what it will receive. The amount will be set in the spring based on several factors other than what was requested — among them the total assessed value of taxable properties in the district and the consumer price index.

Unit 4 officials are projecting about an $80 million increase in the assessed value of the district, from $2.21 billion to $2.29 billion, according to Lockman.

The overall levy increase is expected to have a minimal impact on the tax rate because it would be spread out over a larger assessed value of the district, though final figures won't be known until next spring, Lockman said.

"This year, certainly we want to ensure we are collecting what we are authorized to collect," he said.

In all, the requested levy would be 7.5 percent higher, from $111,364,397 on 2017 taxes paid this year to $119,775,662 on 2018 taxes payable next year.

That would be a nearly 9 percent increase in the district's corporate and special purpose property taxes and a 0.08 percent increase on the levy portion tied to debt service.

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