Crystal Lake-based High School District 155 proposes property tax levy increase

Board will vote on proposal Dec. 19

Crystal Lake-based Community High School District 155 is photographed on Friday, Aug. 7, 2020.

Crystal Lake-based High School District 155 is proposing to increase its property tax levy by 6.3%.

Under Illinois’ so-called tax cap law, the levy increase is capped at 5%, but that doesn’t include new construction coming onto the tax rolls. With that factored in, the projected levy is $87.6 million, or a 5.55% increase over last year, said Kevin Werner, District 155 chief officer of finance and operations.

But Werner said the district will use a tactic known as “ballooning” its levy, asking for a 6.3% increase, or $88.25 million, to make sure it’s able to capture all of the growth of the overall assessed value of property within its boundaries.

The levy is estimated to add about $103 to the tax bills of homes with a cash value of $250,000, or less than $2 a week during the upcoming tax year, Werner said.

New property values are estimated to be $18.8 million, including a Cary tax increment financing closeout of $419,000, according to district documents.

A public hearing on the proposed levy will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 19 at Prairie Ridge High School in Crystal Lake. A “detailed” Truth in Taxation Act Public Hearing presentation of the proposed levy with be presented at the meeting, Werner said.

The proposed tax levy was approved by the district’s Budget, Planning, Finance and Audit Committee on Oct. 17.

The district plans to use $75.7 million of the proposed $87.63 million for educational purposes, while $6.5 million would go toward operations and maintenance and $2.3 million would be used for special education. Other expenses the tax levy would cover include Social Security, transportation and retirement costs, district documents show.