The referendum on the ballot in the Woodstock area would allow the Woodstock Fire Protection District to ignore the Property Tax Cap limits (2.1% this year) and raise taxes as much as 20% for taxes paid in 2020.
From Woodstock Fire Protection District resident Susan Handelsman:
Woodstock Fire & Rescue is mistakenly seeking more money from taxpayers via referendum to expand services for new Woodstock TIF Freeriders.
There must be a math error in budget analysis, because Fire Department supported the new TIF [Tax Increment Financing District] at Joint Review Board.
If Trustees knew they had a budget crisis they were bound by law to protest–as did school districts 200 and McHenry County College–TIF which projects creation of 1000 new housing units requiring mandated free social service provision for 35 years.
New Woodstock TIF freerider residents will obtain free social service provision at the expense of NON-TIF development properties.
(Schools may possibly be paid a small fraction of costs of new TIF enrollment, an amount strictly limited by law to protect TIF bondholders).
6% of current taxable Woodstock EAV will be frozen against taxation of assessment inflation during the next 35 years.
In it’s very first year, Woodstock TIF 2 will collect over $200,000 from that inflation alone: money which non-TIF taxpayers will now need to “replace” to taxing bodies like Fire & Rescue.
The 2005 Fire & Rescue tax hike referendum allowed the fire department to hike their property tax which at the time (2005) was .5036% of EAV.
[That’s over a 57% increase.]
Now in 2017, the Fire & Rescue tax rate is .893096% of EAV.
(Total Woodstock tax rates have risen from 8% of EAV in 2005 to 11.9% of EAV in 2017).
So when they say it will “only” increase the tax bill $150 on a $250,000 house, they mean “in the first year*”.
As the tax rate rises because new TIF costs are distributed over a shrunken pool of taxable property, that additional $150 will rise annually.
Woodstock taxpayers gave the Fire Department the TIF they supported, therefore there must already be ample money in their budget to fund Fire service provision.
From Fire Chief Michael Hill:
Just to be sure we’re on the same page: the 20% increase is not 20% of the entire tax bill, but rather an increase to the FIRE DISTRICT’S PORTION OF THE TAX BILL ONLY. The District’s portion is roughly 7.5% of the total tax bill, and 20% of that is 1.5%… so what we’re asking for is a 1.5% increase to the total tax bill. (I’m sure you already knew that, but I had to cover all my bases)
IF the referendum passes this April, it will allow us to levy for the increased amount in December of 2019. The new money will not come in until the following fiscal year, which starts on May 1, 2020. (So the taxpayers will not see the change until the 1st property tax installment in May of 2020)
I can probably guess your position regarding the referendum, and I respect that. The one thing that I ask however is that you take a moment to review what it is that we’re looking to accomplish with the increase and the things that we’ve done to try to avoid getting to this moment. I will be giving a presentation at the Woodstock Public Library this Thursday (March 21st at 1pm). I hope that you’ll consider attending – and I’ll be happy to answer any questions that you have (event the difficult ones) to the best of my ability.