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2015 Budget Hearings Scheduled in for Schools and Library
The budget process for the next fiscal year running from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 is underway. As explained below the public hearings for the 2015 budgets for the Barrington Area Library and School District 220 are scheduled for September 8, 2014 and September 16, 2014 respectively.
A taxing body’s budget drives the property tax levy request that will be filed later this year with the relevant counties. The tax levy determines what the property taxes will be for next year.
Appearing at the tax levy public hearing later this year to express concerns about the tax levy is useful in letting a taxing body know of taxpayer concerns but it is really too late. There is a better chance of being heard if communication from taxpayers begins with the public budget hearings. Additional communication from taxpayers at the levy hearings later this fall should also take place.
Set forth below are the timetables for School District 220 and the Barrington Area Library.
School District 220
The 2014-2015 tentative budget is posted on the District 220 website. A public hearing will take place on September 16, 2014 during the regular 7pm Board of Education meeting at the high school. The public hearing is usually at 8pm; check the agenda on the District 220 website prior to the meeting. After the public hearing the Board of Education will be asked to approve the budget which will then be filed with the State Board of Education and other required entities. The approved budget will be posted on the District 220 website. Both the regular board meeting and the public hearing provide opportunities for taxpayers to address the board.
The format for public comment at board meetings generally limits an individual’s comments to three minutes and does not include any time for dialog or “back and forth” discussion with the board or district staff. Therefore, if a taxpayer has questions regarding the budget in order to prepare comments for the meeting or to gain insight on the budget it is advisable to contact the district finance department (and/or the board or the superintendent) prior to the meeting. Contact information is on the District 220 website.
Based on last year’s schedule the Board of Education would approve the estimated levy as recommended by the Finance Committee at the November 4, 2014 board meeting. The public hearing on the proposed levy would take place during the November 18 regular board meeting and the levy would be adopted at the December 2 board meeting. The meeting schedules are posted on the district website. The Finance Committee meeting schedule is also on the district website. The Finance Committee meetings are public and often include relevant information on budgets and other financial matters. Check the meeting agendas on the district website the Friday before the meetings to confirm that the levy actions are as described above.
Barrington Area Library
The public hearing for the tentative budget for the year ending June 30, 2015 will be held on September 8, 2014 at 7 pm in the conference room at the library. The tentative budget is posted on the Barrington Area Library website as Ordinance 2014-3. Also on the website are monthly financial statements and the annual audit for fiscal year 2012-2013.
In past years at the September meeting the library board has also adopted an ordinance to levy additional property taxes over and above the levy that normally takes place at the November meeting. The additional levy becomes effective unless a specified number of taxpayer signatures are obtained within a specified time frame, forcing the additional levy to be placed on a referendum. Watch for this on the September 8 meeting agenda which should be on the library website on Friday September 5.