Naperville School District 203 abates $3 million in taxes
By Hank Beckman For The Sun February 22, 2013 9:10AM
Updated: March 25, 2013 6:35AM
Thanks to the expiration of the Cantera TIF district several years ago, District 203 property owners are getting a break on their property taxes again this year.
For the fourth time in the last five years, the Board of Education has voted to abate the annual levy that goes toward debt reduction for bonds issued in 2008 and 2009.
“We still have to pay (the debt service), but we won’t have to tax the additional amount for it,” District 203 Business Director Dave Zager said.
For a property owner with a home valued at $340,000, the savings come to about $71.
The bonds were issued in 2008 ($10 million) and 2009 ($33 million) to fund construction projects on both District 203 high schools, the Mill Street renovation and work at the district’s Early Childhood Center.
The projected cost of the bonds was estimated at the time to be $67.85 million. So far, the district has been able to abate $17.9 million, or 26 percent, of the original estimated cost.
Zager said that the $3.1 million levy abated is slightly less than the $3.3 million extra in additional revenue from the Cantera TIF.
When the Cantera TIF formed in 1986, property taxes going to taxing bodies within the TIF district were frozen in place and the subsequent annual increases (the increment) was used for the purpose of various improvements within the district.
When the TIF expired in 2009, District 203 saw an additional $3.3 million in annual revenue flowing into its coffers.
While the Cantera TIF has made the debt levy abatement possible, there is a possibility that District 203 could see even more revenue from the Cantera TIF. The district is currently involved in a lawsuit against the city of Warrenville and several other Warrenville-area taxing bodies over funds the district contends were improperly diverted to those bodies from the Cantera TIF.
While District 203 contends it is legally due a share of the funds transferred to those other taxing bodies, Warrenville contends that the funds were legally transferred into an additional TIF district in which District 203 has no residences or financial obligations.
Warrenville officials also say that there is no money to be had from the adjoining TIF, since it is currently about $700,000 in debt.
Whatever the financial status of the adjoining TIF, the lawsuit, which has been dismissed twice only to be appealed by District 203, continues, and is currently in the discovery process.
District 203 acknowledged that the district has to date spent about $446,000 in legal fees on the suit.