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Batavia Schools' TIF Windfall Means Sharp Contrast to Geneva's Property-Tax Outlook

Additional revenue from the Premium Outlet Mall TIF expiration could translate to more funds for operations and a slightly lower tax bill for Batavia residents. Geneva residents will see bills go up $300 on average.

A windfall from the ending of the Aurora Premium Outlet Mall TIF District means folks in Batavia won't be hit with the same property-tax increases that Geneva residents will see in 2014.

In fact, property taxes in Batavia probably will go down in 2014, school officials said this week. 

Geneva School District 304 has approved a 1 percent tax-levy increase. The owner of a $315,000 home can expect a tax increase of about $304 for the School District 304 portion of his or her tax bill next year. With ongoing debt due to school construction in 2007 and before, the tax bill very likely will continue to rise for at least the next couple years.

The Batavia School District 101 Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the proposed 2013 tax levy at its Dec. 17, 2013, regular board meeting following a public hearing which is scheduled at 7 p.m. at the Rosalie Jones Administration Center.

The Aurora Tax-Increment Financing District No. 2 has expired, which means the School District can now collect on the full value of the improved property, according to a report in the Daily Herald.

School officials said in a Friday press release that current projections estimate a decrease in the average tax bill for existing property owners. The release did not provide a dollar figure regarding the property-tax savings for the average homeowner.

The district will tally the outlet mall property as new construction this year. The Daily Herald said the estimated value of the property was set at $95.68 million compared to a total assessed value was $226,777 in 1989, when the property was farmland.

The property tax levy is the amount of money a school district requests to be raised from property taxes in order to run the schools. In School District 101, property taxes account for more than 81 percent of revenues.

Under tax-cap legislation, the district can only increase its levy by a maximum of 1.7 percent this year for existing property. The cap allows an increase of up to 5 percent or a percentage based on the consumer price index, whichever is least.

However, it can levy more than that for revenue from new construction. The Daily Herald article said the School District received $55.43 million in property taxes for operations last year and is asking for $62.6 million this year — an increase of almost 13 percent.

Some residents at the November School Board meeting protested, saying the district should live within its present operational budgets and hold the line on the levy and further reduce the School District portion of residents' property tax bills.

The average resident's bill spiked sharply between 2011 and 2012, according to the School District's chart, from a little less than $4,100 to more than $4,500.

But officials indicate the additional dollars would compensate for previous belt-tightening.

"The addition of the tax revenue from the Aurora TIF #2 properties has allowed the Board of Education to begin to moderately restore some of the reductions made over the past four years, especially in the area of class size and instructional support," the District 101 press release said.

The School District 101 website says that, since 2010, the board has reduced programs such as Full Day Kindergarten, Elementary Spanish, and the Building Trades II class, as well as increasing our class size targets by two at each level. 

"The expected revenue from this TIF led the Board to adopt the FY13-14 Capital and Staffing plan in March 2013, which added 7.5 teachers and 3.5 instructional coaches dedicated to enhancing instruction and improving student achievement. These improvements were adopted as part of the 2013-14 budget in September 2013," the website says.

For additional information and resources regarding the tax levy, please visit www.bps101.net/levy

Bob McQuillan December 09, 2013 at 11:17 AM
This is a prime example of a board that will spend as much money as it can get. The District probably has never even thought, gee the taxpayers have faced tax increases every year now that we are getting this windfall, it is time to reduce taxes for all owners who have supported us through difficult times. Nope, they see it has an opportunity to get more and then spend it. Can you say $15 million for athletic fields. Batavia residents should be warned. Look what is happening up the street. Geneva is struggling because of bonds that need to be paid back from the 2007 building fiasco. Don't allow your District to incur more debt. The levy should be reduced, not increased.
Mike December 09, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Very true - Batavia taxpayers be warned, you have to be vigilant and look out for your own interests because nobody else will.
Dan van Loon December 10, 2013 at 10:46 AM
Please go to LOWERTHELEVY.com. Great comments Bob and Mike.

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