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Residential property owners in Evanston saw increases in their property taxes this year for two reasons: increases in the taxes levied by many of the taxing bodies, and a reduction in the maximum allowed homeowners’ exemption.

 School District 65, School District 202 and the City of Evanston, together, account for the lion’s share –about 85 percent – of the total property tax bill. School District 65 accounts for about 39 percent of the bill, School District 202 for about 26 percent, and the City of Evanston for about 19 percent. The property tax levies for these three taxing bodies in the last three years are as follows (in 000s): 

                           2006          2007          2008

City                  $34,294     $35,569     $38,052

D 65                  76,236       78,642       84,070

D 202                52,551       54,289       56,727

  Between 2007 and 2008, the taxes levied by School District 65 went up by 6.9%; School District 202’s levy increased by 4.5%, and the City’s by 7%. The increase on the aggregate amount levied by these three taxing bodies was 6.1%. Taxes levied in 2008 are being collected in this year’s bills.

 While the property tax levies for the school districts and the City increased by 6.9%, 4.5% and 7%, many residential property owners saw their property taxes attributable to these entities increase at a higher rate. On some tax bills, the taxes attributable to School District 65 and City increased by more than 10%, and the taxes attributable to School District 202 by more than 7.5%.

 Bill Vaselopulos, director of tax extension for Cook County, told the RoundTable that these higher increases occurred because the homeowners’ exemption for residential property owners in the northern suburbs was reduced from a maximum of $33,000 to $26,000 this year. This reduction was part of the legislation which phased in increases in the reassessed property values in 2007. He said some residential property owners were thus paying tax on a higher taxable value this year than last.

 As a result, he said, compared to last year, residential property owners in Evanston are bearing a bigger portion of the taxes levied than commercial and industrial owners.