WHEATON — In order to fund a new Jefferson Early Childhood Center, residents in Wheaton Warrenville District 200 will pay about half the cost of the project between levy years 2013 and 2022, with the remaining $12 million to be paid in levy year 2023, the final year of repaying the Jefferson debt.
This means that from 2013 until 2022, annual property tax increases specific to the Jefferson project would range from $19 for owners of a $200,000 home in the district to $51 for owners of a $500,000 home. But in 2023, the tax increase on residents will rise to $224 for owners of a $200,000 home and $585 for owners of a $500,000 home.
Overall, however, the amount residents pay in property taxes to the district will decrease that final year.
After going through the district’s presentations regarding Jefferson, board candidate Kyle Nenninger said he was concerned the tax increase numbers that had been circulated by the district only reflected the increases for the first 10 years of the debt service, not the 11th year.
The district website’s main page last week read “the estimated tax payment increase per year for local taxpayers is $19 for a $200k home, $30 for a $300k home, $40 for a $400k home and $51 for a $500k home,” which seems to indicate the annual property tax increases will remain at those levels for all 11 years, instead of jumping during the final year of the debt service.
“First and foremost, we want to be as open and transparent as possible,” Superintendent Brian Harris said.
Graphs included in district presentations show the final year’s tax increase would be different from the previous years’ increases.
Information provided also shows how much taxes would decrease in the final year with and without the added Jefferson debt. The difference between those numbers equals the amount residents will pay for Jefferson that year.
However, Harris said if Nenninger thought something was unclear, then others in the community might, too.
“In levy year 2023, residents are expected to see a decrease in tax for the district,” Harris said. “There will be less of a decrease if voters approve the Jefferson project, but their tax would still be lower than the previous year.”
Financing information is available on the District 200 website, www.cusd200.org, under “Jefferson Project Financing” on the Jefferson Referendum page.
The new Jefferson facility would address many issues with the current building, including a lack of space and handicap accessibility in the school, which primarily serves 3- and 4-year-olds in the district with disabilities.
A referendum on April’s ballot will ask voters to approve the building of a new Jefferson Early Childhood Center and the issuance of bonds by the district to pay for it.
Although the initial cost of the new facility is $17.6 million, the total estimated net debt service — including interest — will equal about $23.4 million.
While Nenninger has not taken a position for or against the Jefferson project, he said he was concerned about the district’s transparency in providing residents with all the information they need to cast an informed vote come April.