By Howard Packowitz
BLOOMINGTON – McLean County’s largest two school districts adopted levies Wednesday night for the amount of taxes they intend to collect from property owners next year, and one of the districts is raising taxes.
Unit 5’s tax levy is about $121 million, up 9.2 percent from this year’s levy, largely due to the board’s decision to borrow $16.5 million over the next two years to overcome an education fund deficit.
Unit 5 estimated the owner of a $175,000 home will pay an extra $210 next year because of the bond sale, according to the district.
Unit 5 is raising taxes to cover the cost of higher teachers pay.
District 87 plans no such tax increase even as it intends to collect almost $44.5 million in property taxes next year, up almost 1.7 percent.
Both districts are employing a strategy called “ballooning,” in which they’re calculating levies based on optimistic projections for increases in taxable land values.
Administrators said if they don’t do that, the school systems would be unable to capture added tax revenue in case there’s a sudden surge in land values.
Actual land values, or equalized assessed valuation, will be determined next spring.
Howard Packowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org