District 63 approves tentative tax levy
Updated: December 16, 2012 6:22AM
MAINE TOWNSHIP – Property-tax revenue for East Maine School District 63 next year is expected to be consistent with past amounts as long as local home values stay steady.
The Board of Education on Wednesday approved a tentative 2012 capped levy of $32.59 million, representing a 4.7-percent increase over last year. With debt service the total amount levied is approximately $36.27 million. How much the district actually collects, however, is likely to be less.
A tax cap law limits the levy increase to the Consumer Price Index up to 5 percent. Based on the current CPI, the district would receive 3 percent more in revenue plus taxes associated with new construction.
Declining home values affect how much the school district receives in local tax money only if the change is significant, said David Bein, executive director of business services.
Bein said last year Maine Township saw an overall drop of 10 percent in property values.
“There are predictions that they will drop again,” he said. “The question is how much?”
Though assessments might be lower, tax bills don’t necessarily reflect the decrease.
If property assessments are reduced by no more than 40 percent, District 63 would collect its maximum levy allowance, Bein said.
“It’s important to know the pie of money is the same,” board member Tom Simmons said. “It’s all about who’s paying what.”
In 2011 the total equalized assessed value of properties within District 63 was $1.26 billion. For the purposes of calculating the 2012 levy, Bein assumed there would be no yearly change.
While new construction typically hovers around $5 million, last year the township had only a fifth of that amount, Bein said. Regardless, he estimated $5.5 million in taxable new construction in 2012.
Most property taxes go toward the school district’s educational fund, which support teacher salaries and benefits.
Some of those funds might be reallocated for operations and maintenance work, however, pending the results of a roof inspection at Gemini Junior High School. Bein said the roof might need to be replaced as soon as next summer.
Taxes from this year support district operations in calendar year 2013.
A public hearing and final vote on the levy is expected to take place in December.