River Forest residents can expect their 2019 property taxes to increase 1.9 percent if the estimated property tax levy accepted by the River Forest Village Board, Oct. 28, remains unchanged when the village board approves the levy at its Dec. 9 meeting.

Illinois Truth in Taxation Law requires each taxing body to determine an estimate of its tax levy not less than 20 days before adoption. The property tax levy must be filed with Cook County by Dec. 24, 2019. 

The estimated total corporate levy is $8,135,161, an increase of $224,078 or 2.83 percent from 2018.

The village portion of the levy is $3,772,994, an increase of $67,213 from $3,727,298 in 2018. Other components of the levy are the police pension, up $35,805 to $1,572,020; fire pension, up $85,262 to $1,432,769; the River Forest Public Library levy, up $35,860 to $1,318,393; and the non-capped fire pension, down $62 to $38,985.

Most village funds are subject to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, which limits property tax levy increases to 5 percent or the consumer price index (CPI), whichever is lower. CPI is currently at 1.9 percent. The exception is the non-capped fire pension levy.

Village officials estimated that new property taxes will generate an equalized assessed value (EAV) of $569,992,679, up less than 1 percent from the previous year, with about $5 million worth of new construction, according to Rosey McAdams, village finance director. 

The state does not publish the equalization factor until around April of each year, which is after the annual December due date for taxing bodies to submit their levies. McAdams calculated the estimated EAV using building permit information. 

The current fiscal year runs from May 1, 2019, to April 30, 2020. The taxes from the 2019 levy are collected in 2020.

The total levy, which includes $264,540 for debt service, is $8,399,701, an increase of $216,184 or 2.64 percent from 2018. The debt service levy is lower by $7,894 from 2018. McAdams explained that the debt service levy is the full amount of the debt service extension base, which is the amount the village is authorized to levy for principal and interest payments without a referendum. Village officials plan to issue bonds to fund additional public works projects to utilize the full amount of the authorized debt service extension base, she added.

The levy amounts for the police and firefighter pension funds are based on actuarial reports prepared by the village’s actuary, Todd Schroeder from Lauterbach & Amen. The levy amounts for both funds are higher than the statutory minimum requirements of $1,304,895 for the police pension fund and $1,196,605 for the fire pension fund.

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