COD Board Approves Tax Levy and Abatement

By Brian Kleemann

The College of DuPage Board of Trustees approved at its Nov. 21 meeting a tax levy for next fiscal year and a tax abatement, which is projected to create a net savings for the taxpayer of $16.79. It is expected that the Consumer Price Index will increase 1.7 percent, and the College therefore projects it will receive a 1.7 percent levy increase over the previous year. In accordance with the Property Tax Extension Law Limitation (PTELL), the College cannot raise the tax extension more than 5 percent or the increase in the national Consumer Price Index, whichever is less.

The Operating Levy of an additional 1.7 percent is expected to increase the average DuPage County resident's real estate taxes by just $3.17. The approved debt levy abatement of $8.8 million represents a savings of $19.76, for a net savings of $16.79 to the taxpayer.

"This is excellent stewardship of the taxpayer's dollars," said College of DuPage President Robert L. Breuder. "We are able to provide a phenomenal educational service to the community at a nominal cost." 

To demonstrate the low cost to the taxpayer, the College represented just 3.4 percent of the 2012 Glen Ellyn resident tax bill. When averaging resident tax bills from Downers Grove, Lisle and Naperville township tax rates, using the average value of a home in District 502 of $263,848, the College's portion of an average tax bill was only 4.2 percent or roughly $235 on a total property tax bill of $5,687.  

Corresponding with President Breuder's arrival in 2009, the College's tax levy increases have been minimal, compared to prior years. The first levy under President Breuder's leadership was 2010, and the compounded annual growth rate of the levy (both operating and debt) from 2010 to 2013 was 1.13 percent. Prior to his arrival, between 2006 and 2009, the compounded annual growth rate of the tax levy was 7.91 percent. Despite adding $168 million in new debt from the 2010 referendum, the College's total debt levy average has decreased $2.3 million since 2010. 

"This is crucial to note, because the state is not paying the College the intended one third of the cost to operate. While we should receive one-third of our funding from the state, which would be about $58.3 million, we've budgeted only $5 million to be received this year. Despite this, we are clearly able to balance our budget and be good financial stewards."