Education, Local News

H-F High property owners have received $12.13 million in tax relief

Real estate taxes for District 233 property owners have been reduced by $12.13 million over the last four years thanks to the school board’s efforts at property tax relief.

Bloom Township School Treasurer Bob Grossi said while school districts are required to abate taxes under the rules of the Property Tax Relief Grant, he called the Homewood-Flossmoor district “an anomaly in going that extra step abating taxes beyond what is mandatorily required.”

“The district making the decision of the past several years to do the voluntary abatement is not something that other school districts are doing,” Grossi said. “I think it lends itself to the spirit of the law: If you’re getting extra money that you give the money back in the form of property tax relief.”

At the Nov. 15 school board meeting, members agreed to apply for a 2023 Property Tax Relief Grant from the Illinois State Board of Education for Homewood-Flossmoor High School. 

Grossi told the District 233 Finance Committee Nov. 1 the school board has gone beyond what is expected for tax abatements giving “an additional $4.66 million in property tax relief abatements beyond (the $7.46 million) the law requires.”

The District 233 school board voted to share the benefit by reducing taxes through abatement from 2018 to 2021. The district is required to abate $1.8 million as part of the 2022 levy. 

Also at the Nov 15 meeting, the school board gave tentative approval to the proposed 2022 tax levy of $43,476,000.

The district gets approximately 59% of its revenues to operate Homewood-Flossmoor High School from real estate taxes; 29% from Evidence Based Funding; 8% from state and federal grants and 5% from other local sources.

The levy represents a 5% increase – the most allowed under Illinois’ 30-year-old tax caps. The rules are taxing bodies can only increase the levy by the Consumer Price Index increase or 5%, whichever is less. Although CPI was measured at 7% for the calendar year ending December 2021, the district was limited to taking a 5% increase in its tax rate.

Grossi told the Finance Committee that over the 30 years of tax caps this is the first time CPI has been greater than 5%. The first 10 years, CPI averaged 2.52%. The second 10-year period it was 2.49% and the third 10-year period CPI averaged 1.95%, even with the 5% CPI cap for 2022.

“The district because of taking advantage of the Property Tax Relief Grant and the voluntary abatements has kept taxes flat or lower of the last six years of tax levy,” Grossi said.

Cook will present the final levy to the school board for approval at the Dec. 20 meeting.

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