- Written by: Kelly Jo Ross - Breese Journal Reporter
It's that time of year again. Schools around the county are preparing their preliminary tax levies for the upcoming year.
At their Monday night meeting last week, the Central Community High School board in Breese proposed a preliminary tax levy to be collected for the 2024 year.
A levy is a request for funds made each year by the school district and all public spending bodies from the county treasurer's office. The levy is based upon the equalized assessed value (EAV) of property within the boundaries of the school district.
Central Superintendent Dr. Dustin Foutch said he would like to reinforce the outstanding history at Central of "keeping our tax rate incredibly low."
"Our current rate is one of the lowest in the state of Illinois (for a high school district), and any options for the 2023 levy show a considerable decrease in our overall property tax request," he said.
Foutch said he and business manager Becky Boeschen gave several options for this year's levy for the board to take into consideration regarding their financial situation and long-term financial needs.
"Our estimated assessed valuation continues to grow, and in my opinion, it is likely to grow again this year due to the quadrennial assessment and new construction in multiple areas of the district," said Foutch.
As in the past, he said, the process forces them to set their request at a higher level than will ever actually be extended to them.
"Unfortunately, this gives people the impression that what we will request is a large actual increase in extension, while what we will actually receive is not nearly that amount," Foutch said. "A levy is simply a request that we are forced to make at an inflated level to ensure we access the revenue available according to the eventual assessment of property."
He said they must still maintain a goal to establish a levy request that garners their total revenue potential and, with little information on which to base this, it must be sufficient.
“I would like to remind you that a poor decision could mean a scenario that sets a request for funds too low and leaves potential dollars inaccessible,” he said.
He added that with the reductions they have made to the IMRF (Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund) Retirement Levy over the last two years, they expect to see an overall decrease in their district's tax rate in Fiscal Year (FY) 24.
"Based on our preliminary EAV estimates, we would expect our tax rate to be reduced from 1.8448 to 1.8120 (which would be the lowest Tax Levy Rate at Central since 1998)," said Foutch.
A Truth in Taxation hearing will be held at 6:45 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 18, prior to the next school board meeting. More information is available through the school or the school's website (www.centralcougars.org).
- Written by: Bryan Hunt - Breese Journal Editor
Clinton County's chief probation officer, Carla Stalnaker, was lauded for her completion of coursework to graduate from the 2023 Leadership Academy program for local government officials.
The recognition came during the regular meeting of the Clinton County Board on Nov. 20, with a certificate presentation by County Board Chairman Brad Knolhoff.
"I want to take a moment to recognize the achievement of one of our esteemed employees," Knolhoff said, talking about Stalnaker.
He added: "It's great to see anybody from our county take the initiative, and go after and achieve something like this."
Information on Stalnaker's achievement was shared through a press release from Anne Heinze Silvis, the University of Illinois assistant dean for community and economic development; and David Meyer, chairman of the Washington County Board and president of the United Counties Council of Illinois.
The Leadership Academy, a joint venture of the United Counties Council of Illlinois and the University of Illinois Extension, is a comprehensive leadership development program designed for county officials, elected and appointed.
The central focus of this program of study, whose rigor is comparable to courses at the university, is on critical thinking, problem-solving, communications, planning, self-assessment and change.
Graduation ceremonies and recognition of the 2023 Leadership Academy graduating class was held on the evening of Oct. 27, at a reception and dinner at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield.
This is the 18th year for such an event at the museum, and plans are in place to recognize the next class of graduating local officials in October 2024.