Residents of Belleville Township High School District 201 could see a savings of about $50 on their tax bills next year.
The district set its tax levy for the 2013-14 school year at $33,310,416. Last year, according to Assistant Superintendent Brian Mentzer, District 201 asked for $34,156,232.
But because property values didn't rebound as much as expected, it didn't get as much as school leaders hoped. Mentzer said District 201 actually received about $32.5 million for the 2012-13 school year.
Mentzer estimated the school's tax rate for next year to be $1.9558 per $100 of assessed valuation. It is $1.9712 for the 2012-13 school year.
"Of course, there are other factors like the multiplier and changes in the value of property that factor into it," Mentzer said of the final bills residents will receive. "But if our predictions are accurate, that's a savings of $50.80 for the owner of a $100,000 house."
Mentzer said the district was able to cut its costs by reducing spending in its health, life, safety line item and using the money to pay ahead on bonds. By paying early, Mentzer said the district was able to avoid future increases in expenses that would have been caused by escalating payments on the bonds.
"We got to the point where for the next six years things should remain steady," Mentzer said. "After that the payments should start to drop."
According to District 201 School Board President Al Scharf, the astute move to pay ahead on the bonds was made by current superintendent Jeff Dosier. He came up with the idea a few years ago when he was the district finance director.
Mentzer said the school district has also cut expenses by applying for grants and by reducing its utility costs through increased efficiency measures.
The city of Belleville, which includes most District 201 taxpayers, also set its tax levy this week. Aldermen voted unanimously Monday in favor of a tax levy of $7,759,093, up slightly from the past levy of $7,749,971. The levy increase is expected to change the city's tax rate from $1.7835 to $1.7855 per $100 assessed valuation, an increase of about 67 cents for the owner of a $100,000 home.
Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 239-2626.