Lake Forest city tax levy increases
Updated: December 4, 2012 7:53PM
LAKE FOREST — The city’s portion of residents’ tax bills is expected to increase 2.4 percent next year.
The owner of the average Lake Forest home with a current market value of $800,000 (expected to bump down to $739,200 for the next tax year) will pay $66 more to the city in property taxes than this year, according to city figures and Lake County assessment projections. That homeowner will pay $2,826 to the city next year, compared to $2,760 this year.
“This is the 22.3 percent city portion of the tax bill,” City Finance Director Elizabeth Holleb said.
“The city makes up 19.3 percent of the tax debt. The city library makes up 3 percent,” Holleb said.
Lake Forest’s total tax levy for 2012 is $27.2 million, up from $25.9 million, an increase of 4.8 percent
The City Council unanimously approved the municipality’s levy at its meeting Monday night. Mayor James Cowhey and Third Ward Alderman Stanton “Randy” Tack were both absent.
Holleb anticipates Lake Forest will see .24 percent new construction growth in its overall assessed valuation.
Combining the city aggregate and debt service levies, the levy increase is 5.44 percent, but because of new construction (.24 percent) and property from now-expired tax-increment financing district coming back on the tax rolls (2.2 percent), “only 3 percent of the levy increase affects the average property tax bill,” Holleb said.
As part of the debt-service-reduction levy, the City Council on Monday also unanimously approved abating bonds that have alternative revenue sources, such as water system improvement bonds, paid for through water bills.
“These are bonds to be paid off by revenue sources other than property taxes,” Holleb said. “These include water, sales tax and golf course revenue.”
Holleb noted the city’s action allows officials to tell the county to reduce the city’s property tax levy by an amount equal to the alternative revenue sources to pay the debt service for the bonds coming due the following year.
Because the total city levy increase is more than 5 percent over last year, a public hearing had to held Monday before the levy could be adopted. No residents spoke about the levy during the public hearing.
The City Council also approved a reduction in the interest rate for homeowners of three different special service areas. The interest rates on all three special assessments were reduced 1.5 percent after Holleb approached banking officials, seeking a refinancing of the special service areas.