School district 140 OKs tax hike

Scott Hilyard/GateHouse News Service

Citing the chronically lagging efforts of the state to pay its bills on time and four consecutive years of lowered tax rates, the district's School Board approved a tax increase Monday. The increase from $3.79 per $100 assessed value to $4.22 means property taxes for the school district portion of the annual property tax bill would rise about $194 a year for the owner of a house valued at $135,000.

The proposal passed 5-0, with two board members absent. Only three residents attended a truth in taxation public hearing on the proposal prior to the vote.

"I'm sure there are people who are not that ecstatic about the increase, but we really did not receive much negative feedback," Community Unit School District 140 Superintendent Bob Gold said Monday after the meeting. "None of us like it, but we had gotten to the point where it was necessary."

The tax rate hike would increase the amount raised by property taxes for the 2013-14 school year by about $1 million, to $7.8 million. Most of the increase is to help replenish the district's education fund, reduced in recent years in part by decreases in state aid and the local tax rate.

The projected rate increase of 43 cents is an estimate and could vary a few cents either way when the actual rate is set late next spring.

The Eureka tax rate is the lowest among districts in McLean, Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties, according to Gold's figures.