School districts getting biggest chunks of Palatine's surplus from special taxing zone
Palatine is continuing a tradition of providing a cash infusion to local school districts and other government agencies serving village residents.
Strong development in three special taxing zones near Rand and Dundee roads led to the village council in separate meetings this month to agree to distribute nearly $2.2 million in surplus funds. Palatine Township Elementary District 15 and Palatine-Schaumburg Township High School District 211 will receive the biggest shares.
Like other towns, Palatine has tax increment financing districts designed to spur development. In a TIF district, property taxes paid to local governments -- such as schools and park districts -- are frozen at existing levels, and taxes beyond that are diverted to a fund controlled by the village for economic development purposes, such as infrastructure upgrades.
Cook County officials said a town can declare a surplus at any time over the life of a TIF district, which typically lasts 23 years. Village Manager Reid Ottesen said Palatine is "fairly unique" in directing surplus funds not needed for the intended uses to the other governments.
"I think it's a way of giving back to the other taxing bodies who have been supporting us in our economic development for 20 years," Ottesen said.
From 2010 to 2018, documents show, Palatine distributed $6.84 million to District 15 and $5.54 million to District 211. The top five recipients are rounded out by the village at $2.34 million, Palatine Park District at $1.25 million and Harper College at $803,340.
As in past years, districts 15 and 211 will receive the biggest checks in 2019 because they account for nearly two-thirds of a property owner's tax bill. The village will send the money to the Cook County treasurer's office for distribution to the schools and other taxing agencies.
Palatine figures show District 15 will receive $766,710. District 15 Superintendent Scott Thompson said Tuesday the money will go into the capital project fund that has a $7.4 million budget for expenses in the current school year.
"The district is grateful for the excellent administration of Rand-Dundee TIF and the declaration of a cash surplus," Thompson said.
District 211 will receive $620,170, followed by the village at $263,260, the park district at $139,760 and Cook County at $116,560. Also getting a cut for this year will be Harper, the Palatine Public Library District, Palatine Township and other governments.
Officials said the amount allocated to village government will go toward additional contributions to public safety pension plans.