A comment from Allen Skillicorn to my article on the Sun City overlapping tax district inequities prompted an explanation of how tax rates are set by county clerks.
Here is Skillicorn’s comment:
With a 1 yr average, I assume the McHenry County portion has lower accessed values right now. How much different is the levy though? Kane County is not known for it’s thrifty ways…
In my opinion the levy is more important than the assessment. Lower the levy, and our bills go down. Raise the levy and bills go up, regardless of values.
Here’s my reply:
There are maximum tax rates set by statute.
However, since the Tax Cap was instituted in the early 1990’s, property values have almost always been higher than the increase in the cost of living. In order to limit the tax take, which is set by the county clerk’s tax extension, that meant the tax rate had to go down.
Some will remember the annual tooting of horns by local municipalities and school districts about how they had lowered their tax rate. It meant nothing, but most young reporters have only a vague understanding of how the property tax works.
Now, with the CPI increasing more than property values, which, as all know, have been decreasing, county clerks have to increase the tax rates in order to give tax districts who over levy the maximum allowed under the Tax Cap.
When a tax district reaches a tax rate that is the maximum allowed by law, that tax district will not be able to get an increase in tax take equal to the increase in the CPI.
At that point the tax district in question will have to economize as family units do when their income does not increase as much as the rate of inflation.
Then, tax district boards will have to get voter approval to get more money.