What will a successful tax referendum in District 95 cost the average homeowner? According to the newest figures released by the District 95 Board of Education, a lot less than they originally anticipated. In fact, they say, the average tax hike will be a whole lot less than the figure the board quoted during its first referendum campaign in April of 2005.
The district is now saying that the average tax hike for single-family homeowners will be $199 per year ($185 with a senior's exemption) in Brookfield and $249 ($235 with a senior's exemption) in LaGrange Park. The average figure was based on eight homes (four in each village) selected from different sections of District 95 by Superintendent Douglas Rudig.
Those numbers are drastically lower than previous estimates, which suggested that the average cost to a homeowner would be in the $350-per-household range. They are also lower than numbers given to voters prior to the April 2005 referendum, which asked for a much lower overall tax increase. According to the April 2005 campaign literature, the district estimated the tax increase to homeowners at between $300 and $450.
In April 2005, the district was asking for a tax increase of 38 cents per $100 of a property's equalized assessed value. In March 2006, the district is asking for a 47-cent increase.
The reason? According to district officials, they simply weren't calculating a property's "market value" correctly in the past.
According to Rudig, the district erred last year when it calculated home values by simply using a home's sales price as its "market value." However, the "market value" according to the Cook County Assessor is a fraction of a home's sales price. And the equalized assessed value of a property in Cook County is based on the assessor's "market value" number, not the sales price.
"We felt the honest number to use was the assessor's values," Rudig said.
According to Rudig, at least two of the homes from which the new figures were derived were board members' homes. He did not specify which board members' homes he used in his calculations.
School board Secretary Charles Snyder said he was hoping to compile a list of each property in District 95 and its corresponding assessed value. The district could provide an easy way to homeowners to quickly determine their specific tax increase should the referendum pass.
Calculate your tax increase
If you'd like to see what a successful referendum in District 95 would mean for you, you can get an idea by visiting the Cook County Assessor's web site at www.cookcountyassessor.com and follow the steps below (if you know your Permanent Index Number (PIN), which is listed on your tax bill, skip to step No. 7).
1. Click "Online Tools"
2. On the drop-down menu, click "Residential Property"
3. Click on "Click Here to begin a Search"
4. Enter your address and click "Search"
5. Copy or print out you Permanent In dex Number (PIN)
6. Click on "Home"
7. On the right hand side of the home page, click on the link titled "View 2004 Expanded Homeowner's Exemp tion Calculation"
8. Enter your PIN
9. Click "View Calculation"
10. Use the "Actual 2004 Taxable EAV" number to do the following calcula tion: EAV x .47 ÷ 100 = tax increase
For example: $34,550 (EAV) x .47 (tax rate requested) = $16,238/100 = $162.39 (annual tax increase if referendum passes).