Connect with us

Community News

School board approves $3.7 million property tax levy request

Published

on

Gillespie CUSD 7 tax levy proposal 2023

Members of the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education unanimously approved a property tax levy request of $3,695,200 during the board’s regular monthly meeting on Monday, Dec. 18. The levy will be filed with the Macoupin County Clerk, who will set the final tax rate of 2023 property taxes payable in 2024.

In other action, the board debated a state-recommended policy dealing with book banning and voted to abate the 2023 tax levy by $75,000, representing school facility sales tax funds used to pay down previously issued capital improvement bonds, and approximately $200,000, represent school facility sales tax funds used to service $1.6 million in alternate revenue bonds issued earlier this year for capital improvements.

The vote to approve the 2023 tax levy came after a one-minute public hearing during which none of the board members had questions or comments, and no members of the public appeared. Supt. Shane Owsley had presented a detailed analysis of the proposed levy during the board’s November meeting.

“It’s important to remember that what we levy is the amount we are requesting,” Owsley told the board. The extension (the amount the school district actually receives) is almost always less than the levy request. Last year, for example, the board levied $2,645,707 but received an extension of $2,480,944.

Among the unknown factors affecting the tax levy is the district’s finalized equalized assessed valuation for property taxes, Owsley noted. Over the past eight years, the EAV has decreased by as much as 3.1 percent and increased by as much as 10.31 percent. The EAV has increased consistently since 2016, Owsley noted, and the average annual increase has been slightly more than 3.5 percent.

Owsley said he anticipates the increase in the EAV to be close to the historical average but to ensure the district captures all of the revenue to which it is entitled, the new levy assumes an increase in the EAV of 10.5 percent. Owsley said the district can safely overestimate the increase in the EAV without risking “overtaxing” resident property owners because of limitations on the tax rates for specific operation funds.

Failing to capture additional revenue resulting from increases in the EAV would cost the district money in the future since future levies will use the previous year’s extension as a starting point.

The tax levy is further limited by the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), which was approved by Macoupin County voters in 1995. Commonly known as tax caps, PTELL limits the increase in the extension to five percent or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less. For 2023, the CPI, which essentially is the rate of inflation, is estimated at 6.5 percent, meaning the district should be able to capture a full five percent increase in the tax extension.

Advertisement

The 2023 property tax levy requests $3,695,200, compared with a previous year’s extension of $3,321,979. Because of the five percent PTELL cap, however, the district expects to realize an extension of $3,446,821—nearly $250,000 less than the levy.

Broken down by individual funds, the new levy requests $1,650,000 for Education, while expecting to receive $1,544,656. For Operations and Maintenance, the levy seeks $435,000 but expects revenue to be limited to $404,036. The levy seeks $173,400 for Transportation while expecting an extension of $163,683. A total of $40,950 is levied for the Working Cash fund, but the extension is expected to total an estimated $37,142. The district is levying $114,000 for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund but expects an extension of $107,633. The levy seeks $102,500 for Social Security, while the district expects an extension of $97,368. The levy calls for $229,750 for the Tort fund, while the district expects an extension of $219,032. A total of $31,250 is levied for Special Education, while an extension of $29,921 is expected. The Bond and Interest levy is $918,350, with an expected extension of $843,350.

Property tax revenue represents less than 20 percent of the district’s annual budget, which is in excess of $20 million. The additional funding comes from state and federal sources, along with revenue from the county’s school facilities sales tax.

In a related matter, Owsley told the board he is again applying for a state property tax relief grant that would allow the district to abate upward of $760,000 in property taxes. The district has previously unsuccessfully applied for the grant, and Owsley said the odds of receiving the grant are minimal.

The Superintendent said the grant is awarded on the basis of need and typically is awarded to the top 30 applicants. Some districts, however, do not apply, allowing districts like CUSD 7 to move up on the list. Last year, Owsley said, CUSD 7 was 103rd on the list of applicants.

PROPERTY TAX ABATEMENTS

The board voted unanimously to transfer $75,000 from the School Facilities Sales Tax Fund to the Bond and Interest Fund to service existing bond debt for capital improvements and abate the district property taxes in the amount of $75,000. The board also voted unanimously to abate property taxes in the amount of approximately $200,000, representing School Facilities Sales Tax funds that will be used to service a $1.6 million alternate revenue bond issue approved earlier this year to finance capital improvement projects.

Owlsey said the board will be asked to approve the alternate revenue bond abatement annually for the life of the bond issue. In essence, the action provides an option to levy taxes in the event the district is no longer receiving revenue from the School Facilities Sales Tax program.

BANNED BOOK POLICY

The normally routine adoption of school policies recommended by the State Board of Education sparked a brief discussion about a policy establishing policy toward book banning in school libraries. Responding to questions from board member Weye Schmidt, Supt. Owsley said the ISBE offered two options for the policy—one prohibiting book banning and one allowing the district to follow the practices of the American Library Association. The policy presumably is a response to an upsurge in requests to ban school texts and library books in some states and communities.

Advertisement

Schmidt said he preferred the option of relying on the ALA because it apparently would provide some latitude in restricting books on the basis of age appropriateness.

Board member Peyton Brent said state law set to take effect Jan. 1 will prohibit book banning in all state-supported libraries. Since school libraries receive state funds, he said they presumably would be subject to the new law.

Owsley recommended adopting the entire list of policies, opting for the ALA version of the book-banning rule, on the assumption the ISBE will provide a revised policy reflecting the new state law at a later date.

PERSONNEL

The board voted 5-1, with Dennis Tiburzi voting “no,” to reassign Donnie Allen to the position of high school men’s track and field coach and post the high school women’s track and field coaching position as vacant.

The board also unanimously voted to approve a maternity leave for high school paraprofessional Darian Gill, to run Jan. 3 through April 3, approve the retirement of Jody Dunn to occupy 56 days into the 2026-27 school, and post a vacancy for a BenGil Elementary School music teacher.

Share this story

Comments

comments

Community News

Progressive Club to celebrate 90th anniversary

Published

on

Benld Entreprise

The Wilsonville Progressive Club will celebrate and host a 90 year Anniversary Party on Saturday, May 11. The party will include a catered dinner, a live band, and fireworks.

Doors will open at 2 pm with a catered dinner being served at 4 pm.  The Shane Kessinger Experience (live band) will play at 5 pm, and a grand fireworks display will be held at dusk.

The Progressive Club was originally established in 1934 by the Progressive Miners and was located on the northwest side of Wilsonville’s main street. The Club moved to their new building in January of 1949 and today this is still the current location at 212 Wilson Street in Wilsonville.

Wilsonville was founded in 1917 when Superior Coal Co. Mine No. 4 was sunk and this was the most modern mine in the Superior field. At that time, the little settlement which grew up around the mine was called Wilson. One day a worker paused and asked, “What are we going to name this town?” President Wilson was in office, thus the town was then and there named Wilson until 1919 when it was incorporated and the name expanded to Wilsonville.

The Wilsonville Progressive Club is operated and maintained by an elected panel of trustees and loyal members.  The Club is open to the public and membership is always welcome.  The large outdoor covered pavilion and manicured grassy side lot offer an attractive and convenient venue for any event along with inside facilities. 

If you are interested in renting for any kind of event, call 217-835-3122 during open hours which are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 4 pm to close, and Sunday doors open at 2 pm.  Every Sunday afternoon at 4 pm is the Queen of Hearts drawing and the Club is on Facebook as well.

Advertisement
Share this story

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Community News

Gillespie Police Report: April 14-20, 2024

Published

on

SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2024

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of East Oak Street in reference to a dog bite.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Abba Street to pick up a found item.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of East Maple Street in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of West Chestnut Street in reference to a burglary.

An officer was out in the 200 block of North Macoupin Street in reference to a motorist assist.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Schmidt Street in reference to a 911 call.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of South 1st Street in Benld in reference to a domestic dispute.

Advertisement

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of Broadway Street in reference to a medical call.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of South Illinois Street in Benld in reference to illegal burning.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of South 5th Street in Benld in reference to an animal complaint.

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of Horizon Street in reference to a 911 call.

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2024

An officer was dispatched to Gillespie Police Department to speak with a male in reference to a theft in the 100 block of South Main Street in Benld.

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of West Osie Street in reference to a violation of an order of protection.

Nicholas O. Landolt, 36, of Gillespie was arrested on multiple warrants including one out of St. Clair County for possession for methamphetamine, a second one out of Montgomery County for failure to appear for driving while license was revoked, and a third out of Macoupin County for failure to appear for methamphetamine.

Advertisement

An officer was dispatched to East Walnut Street in reference to a suspicious noise.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Abba Street in reference to a juvenile issue.

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of Broadway Street in reference to a medical alarm.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a theft in the 200 block of West Oak Street.

An officer spoke with a female at Gillespie Police Department in reference to criminal damage to her property.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to identity theft.

An officer spoke with a female in the 100 block of North 7th Street in Benld in reference to a neighbor dispute.

An officer spoke with a female at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a violation of an order of protection.

Advertisement

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of Southern Street in reference to a suspicious person.

TUESDAY, APRIL 16, 2024

An officer was dispatched to the 1100 block of South Macoupin Street in reference to criminal damage to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 900 block of South Macoupin Street in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of East Walnut Street in reference to criminal trespass to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 600 block of North 7th Street in Benld in reference to criminal trespass to property. Melissa J. Hughes, 49, of Benld was arrested on a Montgomery County warrant for theft/larceny.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of East Maple Street in reference to criminal trespass to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of Francis Street in reference to a traffic crash.

Advertisement

An officer spoke with a female at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a civil issue in the 700 block of Rose Street in Benld.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of South 5th Street in Benld in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of East Pine Street to assist the Department of Children and Family Services.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of Broadway Street in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of East Central Avenue in Benld in reference to a 911 call.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2024

An officer spoke with a female at Gillespie Police Department in reference to fraud in the 200 block of South Macoupin.

An officer was dispatched to a business in the 500 block of East Elm Street in reference to criminal trespass to property.

Advertisement

An officer was dispatched to Route 4 and Staunton Road in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to the 600 block of Gillespie Street in reference to unwanted solicitors.

An officer was dispatched to High Street and Gillespie Street in reference to a suspicious noise.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of High Street in reference to unwanted solicitors.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a civil standby.

An officer was flagged down at Elm Street and Clinton Street and spoke with an individual in reference to a civil issue.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of Mt. Olive Road in Eagarville in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a suspicious circumstance.

Advertisement

THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2024

An officer was dispatched to a business in the 400 block of South Macoupin Street in reference to a panic alarm sounding.

An officer was dispatched to the 1300 block of South Second Street in reference to a civil standby.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of West Osie Street in reference to a dog bite.  Heather L. Kimberlin, 47, of Gillespie was issued a citation for dog at large.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of West Baker Street in reference to a juvenile issue.

An officer was out with a suspicious vehicle in the alley in the 500 block of Park Avenue.

An officer was dispatched to East Walnut and South Main Street in Benld in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to the Veterans Memorial Park in Benld in reference to a suspicious vehicle that had been parked there for a couple of days.

Advertisement

Gillespie Police Department was requested for traffic control by the Gillespie Fire Department for a fire on Eagarville Road.

FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2024

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of East Walnut Street in reference to a traffic crash.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of South Street in Gillespie in reference to a juvenile issue.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Litchfield Road in East Gillespie in reference to a suspicious person at the storage units. Kathy J. Henderson, 49, of Sawyerville was arrested on a Macoupin County warrant for failure to appear for bad checks

An officer initiated a traffic stop at Maple Street and Macoupin Street. Kenny L. Fults, 18, of Belleville was issued a citation for possession of cannabis.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of Mt. Olive Road in Eagarville in reference to civil standby.

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of West Burton Street in reference to an animal complaint.

Advertisement

SATURDAY, APRIL 20, 2024

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Abba Street in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of North 7th Street in Benld in reference to criminal trespassing. Timothy J. Dalpozzo, 57, of Benld was arrested for criminal trespassing to residence and a Macoupin County warrant for criminal trespassing to a residence.

An officer initiated a traffic stop at South Street and Chestnut Street and charges are pending crime lab results.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of East Maple Street in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to Macoupin Street and Elm Street in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of Osie Street in reference to a dog at large.

An officer was dispatched to the 600 block of North 8th Street in Benld in reference to medical assist.

Advertisement

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of West Spruce Street in reference to a suspicious person.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of West Baker Street in reference to criminal trespass to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of Park Street in Benld in reference to a medical call.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to an ordinance issue.

All subjects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Share this story

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Community News

HSHS St. Francis Hospital offers volunteer opportunities for feens

Published

on

LITCHFIELD, Ill. — HSHS St. Francis Hospital is offering service opportunities to area teens this summer through the 2024 Junior Volunteer Program. Applications are being accepted now through May 1.

Applicants must be high school students maintaining at least a “C” average, be a minimum of 14 years of age by June 1 and be willing to volunteer at least two hours per week during the summer program. Junior volunteers will perform a variety of duties in various hospital departments. 

Registration materials are available on the hospital’s website volunteer page at https://www.hshs.org/st-francis/community/volunteer.

All participants in the program will be required to present proof of immunizations for MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), and Varicella (chicken pox). An additional requirement includes attendance at a hospital orientation.

A limited number of positions will be available. For more information, contact HSHS St. Francis Hospital at 217-324-8200.

Share this story

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Trending

×

We need your support. If you value having timely, accurate news about your community, please become one of our subscribers. Subscribe