Education

Woodstock School District 200 sets $63.3M property tax levy, up 3.5% from last year

But $5 million will be abated, or reduced, from last year’s levy, and homeowners might see smaller bills

Woodstock School District 200 unanimously passed a $63.3 million property tax levy Tuesday, and homeowners could see smaller tax bills than last year, the district said in a news release.

That’s even as this year’s levy is up 3.5% from last year’s levy of nearly $61.2 million.

Based on the latest levy, the owner of a $200,000 home would see a property tax bill decrease of $63 on the school district’s portion of their tax bills compared to last year’s bills, assuming no increase in the property’s assessed value, officials said.

District 200 has lowered its tax rate by a total of 21.9% since 2015, according to the release. Over the past seven years, the owner of a $200,000 home, without factoring in appreciation of that home’s value, would see a total tax bill savings of more than $1,000, according to the release.

“Through thoughtful spending, we’re pleased to continue offering the students of our community a quality education while decreasing our tax rate. We’re proud of our history and commitment to meeting the needs of both students and taxpayers,” District 200 Superintendent Mike Moan said.

District 200 officials are able to lower the total tax rate from $6.49 to $6.39 per $100 of taxable value, according to the release, and that won’t impact the quality of education. That’s because the district is using reserve funds to abate $5 million in debt payments.

Districts are allowed to increase their tax levies by the rate of inflation plus the value of newly added property within their boundaries. Nearly half of the district’s 3.5% increase in the overall levy from last year was because of the addition of new property in the Woodstock school system.

The estimated new property in 2021 for District 200 was assessed at $6.3 million, and the district can tax another $5.9 million of value over last year because the city of Woodstock has an expiring tax increment finance district, or a TIF.

TIFS are used during development projects to steer property taxes on additional value created toward economic development and job creation.

The actual amount taxed could be less than $63.3 million, as that figure is more than district officials expect they will legally be able to collect considering the increase limit of inflation plus new value.

But the tactic of passing a slightly larger levy than would be allowed by law lets the district capture tax revenue on any unexpectedly high assessments of newly constructed property.

“It’s a benefit to all taxpayers to capture the TIF money,” Moan said.

Sam Lounsberry

Sam Lounsberry

Sam Lounsberry covers local government, business, K-12 education and all other aspects of life in McHenry County, in particular in the communities of Woodstock, McHenry, Richmond, Spring Grove, Wonder Lake and Johnsburg.