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Level levies less taxing  for area homeowners

Whole Foods has mailed fliers offering former Dominick’s shoppers $15 off $50 purchase along with sympathy note list affordable items

Whole Foods has mailed fliers offering former Dominick’s shoppers $15 off a $50 purchase, along with a sympathy note and a list of affordable items that defy the upscale retailer’s “Whole Paycheck” nickname. | Sun-Times file phtoo

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Updated: January 11, 2014 6:07AM

With new tax levies in Orland Park and Tinley Park unchanged from this year, there is the potential behind those numbers for more good news for property owners in those suburbs.

Officials in both villages expect that the value of all homes and businesses that those taxes will be levied on will be essentially flat compared with the 2012 levies, for which taxes were collected this year.

While not normally welcome news, it’s an improvement over the last couple of years, when the recession battered property values and home sellers found themselves slashing asking prices to woo buyers.

Both villages saw double-digit decreases in the equalized assessed value of homes and businesses — just after prices peaked at the height of the housing boom. With so many variables, predicting where property values are headed is an inexact science.

“We are being conservative and showing a flat” overall assessed valuation, said Joe La Margo, Orland Park’s deputy village clerk and public information officer.

The equalized assessed valuation — the value of property for tax purposes — for the 2012 levy was down 7.7 percent from the prior year, which saw total values plunge more than 14 percent from the 2010 levy, when the full effect of the economic meltdown on real estate was being felt.

In actual dollars, the EAV from when the 2010 levy was established has fallen by some $600 million.

While hoping to see a slight uptick in overall property values, Tinley Park is also “projecting effectively no change” in equalized assessed values as opposed to another year of decline, Treasurer Brad Bettenhausen said.

“We should be at a point where we should be seeing some re-stabilization of the EAV,” he said.

For the 2012 levy, Tinley’s EAV had fallen 7.2 percent from the prior year, and the 2011 levy year had seen values drop 11 percent from a year earlier.

Along with rising property values, fast-growing communities such as Orland and Tinley had enjoyed steady gains in their tax base through new residential and commercial development, although with few exceptions that has slowed to a trickle.

For the 2012 levy, Tinley Park saw $2.4 million in new development, the village’s lowest total in 22 years and reflecting “the virtual lack of new construction and development as a result of the recession and the collapse of the real estate markets,” Bettenhausen told trustees in a memo regarding the new levy.

He noted in that same memo that during calendar year 2012, just a dozen building permits for single- and multi-family homes were issued, near a three-decade low.

In Orland Park, while stores such as Whole Foods and Art Van opened in the last year, they moved into existing vacancies, which didn’t count toward bolstering the property tax base. The village’s most expensive new development in recent years, the Ninety 7 Fifty on the Park apartment complex, is in a tax increment financing district, with the property assessment level stuck at what it was pre-development.

Excluding taxes for the library, Orland Park’s levy of $13.4 million is unchanged from last year and 2011. Including tax revenue for the library, the new levy is $19.46 million, up from $19.28 million for 2012.

The village’s tax rate is also unchanged from last year, at 62 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value. The rate for the library ticked up to 28 cents per $100 of EAV from last year’s 27 cents.

Tinley Park’s $25.5 million levy, which will get final approval from trustees later this month, includes library operations and is unchanged from the 2012 levy.

The village’s expected 2013 tax rate, for taxes payable next year, is $1.33 per $100 of equalized assessed valuation, unchanged from 2012. The library’s rate will dip slightly, to 37 cents per $100 of EAV from 39 cents last year.

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