Another blow to Cherry Creek: Panera is closing

District 233 has applied for a $1.8 million Property Tax Relief Program state grant to give tax relief to Homewood-Flossmoor High School taxpayers.
The District 233 school board unanimously agreed in December to file the grant application.
If this grant is approved, District 233 will be asking Cook County to collect approximately $5 million less in taxes over 2019 and 2020 tax bills.  
Board President Steve Anderson said the action gives property tax relief “and maintains fiscal discipline.”
The district got a $1.9 million grant under the PTRP program in February 2019. To receive the funds, the district had to abate $2 million in property taxes. 
The abatement filing tells Cook County how much less the district expects to collect. District 233 instructed the county to collect $2 million less in property taxes for 2019. The reduction was on the fall tax bills.
The state added the $1.9 million grant funds to H-F’s Evidence Based Funding formula. The formula's new calculations are meant to narrow the wealth-based disparities among school districts. H-F is receiving grants because of its high property tax rates as compared to other districts in the state.
The state extended an additional $1.3 million in PTRP funding to District 233 in fall 2019 as a continuation of the earlier grant. Receiving the funds didn’t require a tax abatement, but school board members at the December board meeting agreed to again give taxpayers property tax relief  —  equal to $1.3 million. 
Now the district is applying for a PTRP grant for $1.8 million. It should receive news by the end of January on whether the application was approved. 
To receive the additional funding, the state requires District 233 to abate 2020 taxes by the end of March.  Property owners will realize the reduction on fall tax bills.
Because this grant requires abatement for two consecutive years — 2020 and 2021 — District 233 will need to take action to make certain the county again gives $1.8 million in tax breaks in 2021, explained Bob Grossi, Bloom Township school treasurer. 
Grossi estimates the additional state funds will mean approximately $3.1 million in 2020 property tax abatement for District 233 property owners — the $3.1 million combined with the $1.8 million. 
“Over two years, in aggregate since you abated last year’s ($2 million), the tax extension will be (approximately) $5 million less than what it could have been,” Grossi told board members at the December meeting. “And the beauty of it is that 95 percent is paid for by the state of Illinois, so it does not have a huge impact on your financial condition, but it does provide critical tax relief.”
At the same time, Grossi shared with school board members that the word from Springfield is the legislature likely will take action in the next legislative session for either a property tax freeze or changes in school pension liability or both.
“There’s a higher urgency to do it. What it looks like is uncertain but (there’s) a higher probability that something will happen,” he said.
Anderson said if the talk about moving pensions to districts happens, H-F could face an additional $2 million in expenses to fund pensions.
“That’s approximate, based on what we know,” he said.

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