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Eastland Mall Value Drop May Erase Tax Cut In District 87

District 87
Eric Stock
The District 87 school board adopted a $44.5 million levy on Wednesday.

Eastland Mall’s big drop in its property tax bill could wipe out any tax cut that property owners in District 87 might have been getting.

The mall’s owner, CBL Properties of Chattanooga, Tenn., recently reached a settlement with McLean County taxing bodies to reflect the mall’s property value dropping 32 percent over the last year from $50.7 million to $34.4 million.

The mall has lost four of its anchor stores since the start of 2017 and is in the midst of a redevelopment.

The $44.5 million tax levy which District 87’s school board approved on Wednesday projects a 2 percent increase in EAV (equalized assessed valuation) in 2018. The levy marks a 1.7 percent increase over 2017.

District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly said he believes the projection which the district used to draft the levy is likely no longer within reach.

“If there are things out there we are not quite aware of that swing it up there, that’s fantastic, but realistically I don’t expect us to hit that 2 percent mark,” Reilly said.  

District 87 receives a majority of the property tax money CBL Properties pays. A drop in EAV would lead to a higher tax rate for all taxpayers. 

The district has projected the tax rate would drop from $5.15 per $100 of assessed valuation, to $5.12 per $100 of assessed valuation. That would equate to a $50 drop in the tax bill for the owner of a $165,000 home.

“I think it will be flat to slightly up but it’s so slightly up that it won’t make a difference at all, a negligible difference,” Reilly said.

The district’s chief financial officer, Colin Manahan, told the board the district relies on property taxes for 63 percent of its annual revenue.

Reilly said in October when he proposed the levy that 2 percent growth was a “best-case scenario.”

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