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Morton Times-News - Morton, IL
  • Tax could lead to levy drop

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  • If Tazewell County voters approve a 1 percent school facilities sales tax in April, District 709 residents could get a break on their property taxes.
     
    Superintendent Lindsey Hall on Feb. 5 outlined for the School Board several uses for the estimated $1.6 million District 709 would receive annually in sales tax revenue.
     
    Among them is eliminating the bond and interest fund in the district’s tax levy. For the owner of a $200,000 home, Hall said, it would mean a savings of about $74 based on the 2012 levy.
     
    “I don’t know if every district in the county can abate taxes, but we’re in a position to do it,” Hall said.
     
    The superintendent said sales tax revenue also could help pay for the installation of a new heating system at Morton High School and enhanced security at schools and address state-mandated daily physical education requirements at elementary schools.
     
    Board members asked Hall for possible uses of sales tax money after they voted last month to place the issue on the April 9 ballot.
     
    Also on Feb. 5, board members:
     
    • Heard a report from Hall on an estimated $2 million in proposed facilities projects this summer.
     
    Most of the funding for the projects would come from the district’s building ($1.2 million) and life health safety ($673,000) funds. Hall said the district probably would pay for the projects over two fiscal years, and no money would come out of the district’s reserves.
     
    Jefferson ($350,000) would get the most work of the four elementary schools.
     
    Among the $960,000 in proposed projects at the high school is replacement of the lighting, bleachers and press box at Carper Field ($400,000).
     
    • Heard suggestions from Hall to hold a town hall meeting in late March and offer district building tours in late spring or early summer. The town hall and tours were among the recommendations that emerged from the recently completed 709Connect community engagement program.
     
    Another recommendation was the formation of a facilities advisory committee. Hall offered suggestions on the makeup of the group, its duties and a timeline for its recommendations.

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