Property tax increases far outpace inflation in Glencoe
Updated: August 21, 2012 1:54PM
This won’t come as a shock to many a Glencoe homeowner, but property taxes have risen faster than inflation over the past decade.
According to an analysis by The Heartland Institute, property taxes rose by two and three times the inflation rate for the school districts that claim the largest portion of the Glencoe tax bill.
Locally, the increases outpaced inflation in part because of voter-approved referenda during a decade when many school districts and other governments asked taxpayers to loosen the pursestrings for routine expenses and building programs.
Of the three major taxing districts that appear on the Glencoe property tax bill, New Trier High School District posted the largest increase, 82 percent, during the decade, according to the analysis, which covered more than 500 local governments in Cook County.
Though voters in New Trier High School District 203 haven’t authorized a tax increase since 2003, the timing of that referendum allowed the district to phase in the voter-approved rate while property values also were soaring. Taxes billed out on behalf of the district rose from $49 to $89 million. The New Trier district includes Wilmette, Winnetka, Kenilworth, Northfield, Winnetka and Glencoe.
The Heartland Institute study analyzed property tax data from the Cook County Treasurer’s office for the 2000 through 2010 tax years, or the taxes paid through 2011.
Taxes billed for Glencoe District 35 rose 76 percent, from about $13 million to $23 million, over the decade, aided by a voter-authorized tax hike. The 2005 measure was approved by a margin of more than two to one.
The school system’s increase placed the district roughly in the middle among the six elementary districts that feed into New Trier HIgh School. The smallest increase, 54 percent, was seen in Avoca District 37, which straddles Wilmette, Glenview, Northfield and an unincorporated section of Winnetka.
The largest increase, 122 percent, was seen in Kenilworth School District 38, where property taxes jumped after voters in the one-school district approved a ballot question in 2007.
Across Cook County, the average increase for school districts was 58 percent over the 10-year period covered by the study.
Property tax caps generally limit the tax requests of school districts and other non-home rule governments, including the Village of Glencoe and the Glencoe Park District, to the rate of inflation with certain exceptions, including voter-authorized increases. Taxing districts also are allowed to reach beyond the tax cap to capture new tax dollars generated by development, including the larger homes that typically replace teardowns.
Tax billings for the village rose 40 percent over the decade, less than the 48-percent average for all local governments in Cook County.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation rose about 28 percent during the tax-cap years covered by the study.