The Flossmoor Village Board now knows how it wants to approach its 2022 tax levy, though a delay in the 2021 extension is complicating concrete calculations on the tentative document.
Still, the village board voted unanimously Monday, Nov. 7, to approve an approach and 2022 tax levy estimate. The village is looking at a $7.27 million levy, which would increase taxes on a home with a market value of $200,000 by roughly $82. When combined with the Flossmoor Public Library’s levy of $1.55 million, the total comes to $8.82 million, or a 5.02% increase over last year’s levy.
Finance Director Scott Bordui emphasized those numbers are subject to change before final approval, expected on Monday, Dec. 5, as they are based on “a lot of assumptions” without knowing the Equalized Assessed Value, new property and more. He had to use the 2021 levy ordinance rather than 2021 extension to calculate the tentative numbers.
“What we’re looking to do tonight is basically approve an option based on an approach and a theory,” Bordui said. “I know I’ll have to recalculate these numbers before December.”
Bordui said there is an overall delay with Cook County property tax bills. Typically, the levy extension is delivered in late June or early July, with fall tax bills then issued with an Aug. 1 deadline. The 2021 extension has not yet been issued, Bordui said. But Flossmoor already had established a calendar for approval, and Truth in Taxation laws require the tentative approval before a final budget.
Bills can be issued after the extension is finalized, so the hope is that bills will go out with a Dec. 1 deadline, Bordui said. But the lack of data has made crunching numbers for the 2022 tax levy estimate “more challenging than usual,” he said. If 2021 extension numbers come in by the time the board is looking at final approval on Dec. 5, Bordui said he will have to recalculate the levy.
“The only wiggle room in our schedule is that we could do it at the second meeting in December, if we had to,” Bordui said. “Unfortunately, despite the four months in delay on the county side of this, we don’t get any delay on our end.”
A draft tax rate report was sent out on Nov. 4 for review, but Bordui said as of the meeting he had only received part of what he needs for thorough review.
“I can tell you the EAV, preliminarily, did go down to $229 million,” he said, later adding, “We have a CPI cap of 5% to match with a stagnant/declining EAV.”
The levy marks the first time since tax caps were implemented that Flossmoor will not be able to levy for the Consumer Price Index. Tax caps limit the levy to the CPI or 5%, whichever is lesser, without prior voter approval. The CPI used for 2022 would be 7%, up from 1.4% in 2021. Along with inflation, the limit of 5% could pose financial challenges for Flossmoor, Bordui explained. He added that numerous pieces of pension reform and property tax legislation continue to complicate how the village calculates its levy these days.
Bordui’s recommended approach is in line with the village board’s past tax levy strategy to maximize the total levy. The first of the other two options presented was what Flossmoor would have to levy to fully cover all of its cost assumptions, which would result in a levy increase of 9.05%, or what Bordui called “not, in fact, an option.” The other option would be zero increase in the capped levy. But that would reduce cost assumptions by $613,016 and would not capture any money generated by new property.
“This seems to be the correct approach, as always,” Trustee Brian Driscoll said of maximizing the levy. “The prudent way to do it is the way you’ve laid it out. Hopefully it should come back a little bit less.”
Bordui said he hopes it does, noting he was “a little aggressive” in his approach to estimating numbers. But he already expects the final levy could be “a little bit lower” with the EAV declining.
A public hearing also is expected to precede a vote on the levy at the Dec. 5 meeting, as the total levy of the village and Flossmoor Public Library combined is expected to exceed 105% of the 2021 extension. Bordui said there is a chance he does not get the final 2021 numbers before final 2022 tax levy approval but does not expect that will be the case.
Bordui created an extensive report related to the methodology of the tentative levy, which can be viewed starting on Page 53 here.