McLean County Unit 5 holding special board meeting to consider ballot question

Unit 5
Unit 5(25 News/Heart of Illinois ABC)
Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 5:14 PM CST
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McLEAN COUNTY (25 News Now) - Facing a nearly $12 million structural deficit in 2023, McLean County Unit 5 is going to try again to put a question raising the existing property tax on the ballot.

In a statement, the district says that Unit 5 maintains the lowest education fund tax rate of all the neighboring districts.

Despite the district’s efforts to spend efficiently and live within their means, the deficit continues to grow.

That includes more than $2 million in reductions this year.

The district says that if the referendum is placed on the ballot, it will bring a tax decrease for taxpayers - allowing the district to stop using costly working cash bonds to fund the deficit.

Combined with the payoff of previous building bonds, Unit 5 taxpayers would see the tax rate remain level the next two years and then start to drop off significantly. By 2026, taxpayers would see a 12.5% decrease in the current rate, which amounts to an annual $420 tax cut for the average household, according to the statement.

A successful referendum would allow the district to solve financial challenges and avoid having to increase class sizes, decrease staff and cut programs.

The special board meeting is at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Unit Office at 1809 W. Hovey in Normal.