SOUTH HOLLAND | The Thornton Township High School District 205 board unanimously approved a motion to levy $63 million in property taxes. The levy reflects a 3 percent increase over last year’s levy.
Bloom Township Treasurer Rob Grossi prepared the tax levy proposal for the district and presented it to the board at Wednesday night’s meeting.
“The board needs to approve a tax levy this month to be presented to the state in January,” Grossi told the board. “In November, I came before you and presented a tentative levy. This is the same levy we will vote on tonight.”
A total of $39 million of the levy will be appropriated for the education fund. An additional $7 million will be targeted for the building fund, $8 million for transportation and $5 million for special education.
Grossi explained to the board that the state will reduce the amount it gives the district by $3.7 million in 2013. The district also will lose $3.9 million in grants, and $1.1 million in transportation aid.
“That $8.7 million is money the district will never get back,” Grossi said. “That is why it is necessary to ask for an increase.”
Grossi told the board the increase will amount to $15 to $24 more in property taxes per district homeowner in 2013.
Board President Ken Williams asked what the ramifications would be if the district asked for a 1 percent increase instead of 3 percent.
“The amount would be about $1.2 million less for the district,” Grossi said. He then let the board know he was not in favor of the smaller increase.
“There would be a risk in having to cut a program later if money was short,” he said.
Residents in the audience said they would prefer the small tax increase to a loss of programs for the students.
Williams agreed in principle.
“I just feel that we continue to stress the homeowners paying taxes,” he explained. “We were told business and commercial taxes would increase and help us, but that has not been the case.”
Board members said they did not want to risk programs later in the year, and that they felt the small tax increase was the lesser of the two evils.
Grossi warned the board that more cuts from the state would be on the way next year.
“The state may reduce the amount it provides to districts by another 8 to 10 percent next year,” he said. “That would equate to another $3 million in lost revenue for District 205.”
In September, the board approved a $105.8 million budget for the 2012-13 school year. The budget, as proposed, will have a $4.3 million surplus. Revenues for the fiscal year will total $110 million, and expenses are projected to be $105.8 million.