Small bites add up on Winnetka tax bills
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:46AM
The higher property tax bills that arrived in most Winnetka mailboxes this week can’t be chalked up to any particular event like a reassessment or school bond issue or voter-approved referendum.
But a few dollars more to this district, a few dollars more to that agency, and the nicks added up to a higher tax tab for local government services nonetheless.
Many Winnetka homeowners saw their property tax bills rise in the three percent range, though the second payment due Aug. 1 is likely a bit less than the first installment, which was calculated at 55 percent of last year’s tax bill.
The hypothetical owner of a home valued at $1 million by the Cook County Assessor’s office would have seen his tax bill creep up from $19,816 to $20,395, about a $580 increase. The example assumes the homeowner received only the standard homeowner exemption.
Winnetka School District 36 accounted for more than a third of the increase. Like most elementary school systems, the district comprises the single largest portion of the property tax bill.
But homeowners also will be paying a bit more to New Trier Township High School District 203, the Village of WInnetka, the Winnetka Park District, Community College District 535 and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, among others.
The only line item on the tax bill to dip this year was Cook County, and only by a negligible amount.
Tax increases were held down by a 1.5 percent cap on school tax levies, with some exceptions. The figure, calibrated to the rise in the Consumer Price Index during 2010, was one of the lowest since tax caps were applied to area governments in the mid 1990s. Next year’s cap will be considerably higher at 3 percent.
Winnetka homeowners aren’t due for another reassessment until 2013. Those new values will first be used to calculate the bills paid in the latter half of 2014.