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Rockford property tax rate decreases for first time in ten years

Rockford property tax bills, which are scheduled to be mailed to taxpayers this Tuesday, May 2, 2017, will show a slight decrease in the tax rate for the first time in 10 years, due to an increase in the overall Winnebago County property values.

The total Winnebago County Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) increased by over $54M dollars over the previous year’s EAV of $4.227B dollars. The first installment of the 2016 property taxes is due June 2, 2017 with the second installment due on September 1, 2017.

The last time the property tax rate decreased was from 2006 to 2007 when the rate was reduced to $10.2842 from $10.4709. The current property tax rate has increased almost $5 from the tax rate in 2007, an increase of almost 49%!

This year the property tax rate has decreased to $15.1059 from $15.2963, about 1.25% or 19 cents per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation for Tax Code 001.

Tax dollars for tax code 001, which includes the City of Rockford and the Rockford School District, are divided between taxing districts as follows for taxes to be paid in 2017.

Rockford School District 205 – 51.7%; City of Rockford – 22%; Winnebago County – 7.2%; Rockford Park District – 7.7%; Rock Valley College – 3.3%; Rockford Library – 3.4%; with Rockford Township, Rock River Water Reclamation, Airport and Forest Preserve making up the remaining 4.7%.

The reductions in tax rate for the taxing districts were in proportion to their percentage of the tax bill – with the school district tax rate lower by 13.5 cents, the City of Rockford lower by 3.88 cents, Winnebago County lower by 1.6 cents, and so forth.

Your current property taxes are available online at the Winnebago County website link “treasurer.wincoil.us” – type in your last name, click “submit”, and then click on Parcel ID Number and choose year “2016” to see your current tax bill.

Even though the property tax rate finally decreased, the taxes to be paid are still dependent upon the current value of the property. If the property value increased by a bigger percentage than the tax rate decreased, you could still pay more in property taxes depending on qualified exemptions to the assessment.

If your taxes are higher this year, it’s primarily because property values are worth more. In past years, decreasing property values raised the tax rate to maintain the tax levy of the various districts under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law PTELL or tax caps.

By law, property taxes are paid in the current year (2017) based on property assessed in 2016 by the township assessors. The tax cycle process includes mailing assessment changes to property owners, assessment complaints, Board of Review and final value adjustments.

After the property values are determined by the office of the Supervisor of Assessments, the tax bills are mailed to property owners and businesses. Corporations and Industrial properties comprise slightly less than 10% of the total assessed 122,000 parcels.

The county calculates the property tax bill for a $100,000 property assessed at market value, by first dividing the value of the property by 3 to obtain the Equalized Assessed Value – $100,000/3 = $33,333. Next, the owner occupied exemption, currently $6000, is subtracted from the EAV – $33,333 – $6000 = $27,333.

Since the tax levy is calculated per $100 dollars, the county divides $27,333/100 = 273.33. The property tax is then calculated by multiplying 273.33 by this year’s lower property tax rate – $15.1059 times 273.33= $4128.90.

Last year, that same property assessed at $100,000 and with the same owner occupied exemption of $6000, at the higher tax rate of $15.2963, the property tax bill was $4180.94; a tax savings of $52.04 or 1.25% for 2017.

This year’s property tax rate reduction may be small, but it’s a reversal of past calculations and does clearly validate that as overall property values in our area increase, the tax rate does indeed decrease under PTELL.

Next week, taxpayers will understand the effects of HB156, approved this month in the Illinois House by an overwhelming vote of 108 to 1. This bill increases the property tax exemptions for homeowners and seniors, but not for corporations and industry. Who will benefit or not, and by how much will be reviewed.

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