The Woodstock City Council approved an ordinance Dec. 6 setting its 2016 property tax levy at $9.26 million that forgoes an inflationary increase.

The 2016 levy is $77,605 higher than last year’s total, which city officials said is attributable solely to new growth in the city. The equalized assessed value of all properties in Woodstock is estimated at about $434.49 million, according to the county assessor’s office. About $2.65 million of that total comes from new growth.

For the sixth year in a row, the city will not take the tax increase allowed under the state’s Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, commonly known as PTELL. Under PTELL, taxing bodies in some Illinois counties are allowed to increase property taxes by 5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

“The city is again holding its levy flat, in essence,” City Manager Roscoe Stelford said. “… By forgoing taking the inflationary increase over a period time, the council has forgone about $3.4 million in property taxes.”

Although municipalities have to approve their property tax levies in December, final real estate assessments won’t be released by the McHenry County Clerk’s Office until March or April 2017. Once those figures from the clerk are available, the City Council is expected to pass a property tax abatement ordinance that will adjust the levy to reflect the actual change in EAV from new growth.

The levy approved Dec. 6 is higher than what council members ultimately expect the city to collect.

“We do this with the idea that we’re going to fine-tune that [levy] once the actual numbers come out,” City Councilman Mark Saladin said.
Taxes levied for 2016 are collected in 2017 and will finance the city’s budget in fiscal year 2017-18.

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