Chronicle staff should live in this county for awhile before commenting on certain issues, such as what one can find today in “Our View: Falling home values a trying trend in county“.

When the housing market was healthy and new homes and businesses were built at a healthy clip, the opposite was true. Property values grew faster than the rate of inflation, property tax rates fell, and along with them, the tax cap led to decreases in annual tax property tax bills.

The person who has seen her property taxes rise on a modest home since 1993, some years by HUNDREDS more, is somewhat irritated to hear the Chronicle try to tell her otherwise.

Still, let’s stick to the facts. Here are the property tax rates and levies for the City of DeKalb* for each tax year since 2000:

2000 – 0.50490, $1,892,659
2001 – 0.52989, $2,121,088
2002 – 0.60566, $2,514,566
2003 – 0.59666, $2,600,088
2004 – 0.60000, $2,738,052
2005 – 0.59302, $3,022,165
2006 – 0.59672, $3,400,147
2007 – 0.60000, $3,742,937
2008 – 0.60000, $3,875,130
2009 – 0.65000, $4,185,457
2010 – 0.68990, $4,196,889
2011 – 0.72052, $4,197,062

Rates never fell during this period. Why? Because tax caps don’t apply to Home Rule communities.

Let’s do another one.

Here are the rates and levies for District 428 schools.

2000 – 5.26670, $26,403,045
2001 – 5.26872, $27,732,096
2002 – 5.15685, $27,968,850
2003 – 5.09523, $28,824,577
2004 – 5.06355, $30,209,776
2005 – 5.01876, $33,043,939
2006 – 5.18824, $35,968,330
2007 – 5.27545, $37,891,801
2008 – 5.72742, $43,619,859
2009 – 5.38837, $44,394,743
2010 – 5.83669, $45,812,280
2011 – 6.36053, $47,229,395

Here we see that the rates did go down a little in the early-to-mid 2000s, but then took off like crazy after 2007, well past inflation rates. What happened? We passed a huge construction referendum. Referendum debt is not capped.

For somebody like me who lives in the City of DeKalb, there are a lot of property taxes that are not capped even besides the city itself. DeKalb County has picked up referendum debt, and the DeKalb Public Library operates uncapped under the City of DeKalb’s Home Rule umbrella (as well as an overly indulgent city council). Both Kishwaukee College and the DeKalb Park District avoid caps on roll-over debt service, and everybody enjoys a first-year reprieve from caps on brand-new EAV.

So please, newbies, don’t try to tell me about my tax bill.

Source of data is DeKalb County.

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*Both rates and levies have gone up generously each year, yet the City of DeKalb continues to fall behind on pension funding progress. This is another indicator that DeKalb is entering pension crisis territory.