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The long awaited, and long dreaded, Cook County property tax bills should begin arriving in Forest Park mailboxes this week, and while taxing rates will generally continue their seemingly inexorable climb, one local taxing body will actually collect less this year than it did a year ago.

The tax rate for the Park District decreased from 0.577 percent of a home’s equalized assessed value in 2005 to 0.54 percent in 2006, a decline of more than 6.4 percent, according to information posted on the Cook County Clerk’s website.

Tax bills paid in 2007 are for 2006 taxes. The Park District’s annual levy, the dollar amount that will be collected, dipped from $2,019,000 in 2005 to $1,877,619 in 2006, according to Jerry Sebesta, the treasurer for the Park District.

“The reduction is largely due to the reduction in the amount of principal and interest paid for existing bonds,” Sebesta said.

A referendum approved in 2003 that increased the operating tax rate for the Park District allowed it to refinance some debt and the district’s expenses are being reduced as more and more bonds are being paid off.

The property tax rates for Forest Park’s other taxing bodies increased this year.

School District 91 takes the biggest chunk of property tax revenue generated within the municipality. Its tax rate increased by 5.76 percent this year going from 3.491 percent in 2005 to 3.692 percent in 2006, according to the county clerk. District 91’s levy in 2005 was $12,853,955 and increased to $13,783,305 in 2006, Ed Brophy, business manager for District 91 said.

Approximately 85 percent of District 91’s annual revenue comes from property taxes. Sixty-six percent of schools’ budget goes to pay salaries and benefits.

The tax rate for Proviso Township High School District 209 increased by 3.76 percent this year, going from 1.81 percent in 2005 to 1.878 percent in 2006.

The village of Forest Park property tax rate increased 5.32 percent to 1.286 percent of equalized assessed value. The village’s property tax levy ticked up from $4,700,820 in fiscal year 2006 to $5,247,947 in fiscal year 2007, according to information provided by Village Clerk Vanessa Moritz.

Roughly 20 percent of the village’s revenues come from property taxes. Finance Director Judy Kovacs said the municipality’s dependence on property taxes is decreasing, a strategy the village has been working on for some time. Several years ago the village collected 25 percent of its funding from property taxes. The difference is being made up with other taxes and fees, Kovacs said.

The biggest jump in tax rates on this year’s bill will come from the library. As a result of the referendum passed in November, the library’s rate skyrocketed more than 51 percent to .296 percent.

Proviso Township’s tax rate jumped 10.71 percent to .062 percent of a home’s EAV.

A homeowner’s property taxes are determined by a complicated formula that multiplies the tax rates of the varying taxing bodies by the equalized assessed valuation of the property.

Property tax bills are expected to be due on Dec. 3, 2006.

The Proviso Township Assessor’s Office is sponsoring a workshop at the Community Center on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m. that will show taxpayers how they can appeal their assessments. All forms necessary to file an appeal will be available at the workshop. There is no cost to file an appeal.