RVC tax increase hearing

• Board member said tax rate will not increase

Rock Valley College (RVC) Board of Trustees held a property tax increase hearing Nov. 25 in accordance with Illinois’ truth in taxation statute (35 ILCS 200). Details of the meeting were not available by time of publication.

Chris Johnson, board member and former board chairman, said, “Because the tax evaluation is up in the tri-county area, we will receive more money and we have to declare that, but the rate of taxation has not increased.” RVC serves all of Winnebago and Boone counties and portions of DeKalb, McHenry, Stephenson and Ogle counties.

State law

State statute reads: “The purpose of this law is to require taxing districts to disclose by publication and to hold a public hearing on their intention to adopt an aggregate levy in amounts more than 105 percent of the amount of property taxes extended or estimated to be extended, including any amount abated by the taxing district prior to such extension, upon the final aggregate levy of the preceding year.”

According to state records, the law has been modified since it was adopted in 1986 as Public Act 86-957. However, the law has remained basically the same since Libertyville, Ill., attorney Earl L. Hoover wrote the following in 1990: “It would be a shrewd member of the public indeed who could obtain an accurate understanding of the financial position of a public body by attending the hearing or reviewing the data required in order to comply with the act. Perhaps it is time to consolidate the act requirements, budget and appropriation ordinance requirements, and levy ordinance into one hearing and one document. It appears unlikely that anything less will produce meaningful public financial disclosure,” Hoover wrote.

RVC Board Chairman Randy Schaefer did not return messages left at his home for comment about this article. Various public and private tax experts were not available for comment due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

RVC published a legal advertisement Nov. 11 in another newspaper that reads: “The corporate and special purpose property taxes extended or abated for 2002 were $15,091,954. The proposed corporate and special purpose property taxes to be levied for 2003 are $16,245,605. This represents a 7.64415 percent increase over the previous year. The property taxes extended for debt service and public building commission leases for 2002 were $6,339,212. The estimated property taxes to be levied for debt and service and public building commission leases for 2003 are $7,503,685.

“This represents an 18.36936 percent increase over the previous year. The total property taxes extended or abated for 2002 were $21,431,166. The estimated total property taxes to be levied for 2003 are $23,749,290. This represents a 10.8166 percent increase over the previous year,” the legal notice read.

Calculating the RVC tax

RVC’s property tax rate when RVC President Roland Chapdelaine took office in 1997 was 0.39080 and increased to 0.4351 this year. Johnson said the tax rate will not increase despite the college’s five

years of unprecedented and consecutive deficit spending that totals about $7.5 million since fiscal year 2000. The college also borrowed $61.8 million since 1999 for construction projects without voter approval. RVC’s tax rate was 0.15460 in 1983 and 0.34470 in 1993.

Homeowners that occupy their residence may calculate the amount paid to RVC by dividing the fair market value by 3 to obtain the assessed value, subtracting $3,500 from the assessed value and multiplying the difference by 0.004351. The $3,500 value is a tax advantage given to people who occupy their homes, instead of renting or not living on the premises.

For example, the owner of a home with a fair market value of $100,000 would have an assessed value of $33,333 ($100,000/3 = $33,333). The second step is to subtract the owner occupied exemption of $3,500 from

the assessed value of $33,333 ($33,333 – $3500 = $29,833). The final step is to multiply the current tax rate of 0.004351 by the difference, which is $29,833 ($29,833 x 0.004351 = $129.80).

The result means for this year, an owner of a home with a fair market value of $100,000 would pay $129.80 to RVC.

For specific information about Winnebago County residents’ tax bills, visit: www.winnebagotreasurer.com. Read the truth in taxation statute at: www.legis.state.il.us. Go to the compil ed statute section and click on chapter 35. Continue to 35 ILCS 200, Title 6, Division 2.

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