BUDGET AND LEVY
Every year our clients call upon Whitt Law LLC to advise them in the budget process, as well as all proceedings related to tax levies. We fully understand the challenges that Illinois school districts face and the relationship between property taxes and general state aid. Also, when school districts experience severe revenue loss and face extreme budget cuts, we are known for bringing creative and proactive solutions to the table that ultimately win the favor of all involved.
Non-home rule taxing districts, including many of the “collar” communities surrounding Chicago, are subject to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), which imposes limitations on school districts’ ability to raise money through tax levies. When the Illinois legislature considered major amendments to PTELL and its referendum provisions, Whitt Law’s attorneys were at the table, representing the interests of the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance. Our professionals have a full understanding of PTELL and its applications, and are prepared to assist tax-capped school districts with referenda to ultimately amend the tax extension limitations provided by PTELL, if necessary.
PROPERTY TAX DISPUTES
When large commercial, industrial and other special purpose properties seek to reduce their property tax assessments or file tax objection lawsuits, Whitt Law LLC can provide help. Whitt Law is one of few firms in Illinois with an extensive history (link to history section) of helping school districts in communities that host nuclear power stations, and natural gas and coal-fired electric generating stations, as well as petroleum and other refineries. Our team stands strong in protecting the interests of public schools and other taxing bodies facing challenging and complex property tax disputes. Using our unparalleled skill in negotiation and our experience withtax levy litigation and tax assessment litigation, we have a history of success in achieving long-term solutions that provide financial stability and reasonable taxation for our clients now and in the future.
BONDS AND WARRANTS
School construction is often accomplished through the issuance of bonds. The Whitt Law team can advise school boards and administrators on how bonds may be efficiently used within the context of other funding sources. We have also represented school districts in securing grants under the School Construction Law, issuing life/safety bonds, working cash fund bonds and tax anticipation warrants (TAWs), as well as more than $600 million in refunding bonds.
Tax Increment Financing Districts (TIF) are often used to spur business or industrial development. However, TIF districts can be extremely detrimental to schools. Whitt Law LLC often reviews TIF proposals for our clients to ensure compliance with the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Allocation Act. If it becomes necessary to challenge a TIF district, Whitt Law has proven success litigating on behalf of school districts and prevailing in the challenge of TIF districts in the southern suburbs and western Illinois.
HENRY COUNTY BOARD V. VILLAGE OF ORION
In 1993, the Village of Orion enacted TIF ordinances designed to fund the cost of a village-wide new sewer system. Whitt Lawrepresented several affected taxing districts including the Henry County Board. Following weeks of trial, Whitt Law attorneys persuaded the trial court to find that the TIF eligibility study was flawed and the court enjoined Orion from implementing the ordinances and collecting funds. An excellent description of the facts Whitt Law was able to prove can be found at 215 Ill. Dec. 562.
REED-CUSTER 255U V. CITY OF WILMINGTON
In 1991, the City of Wilmington passed TIF ordinances in an effort to fund a sewer main and lift stations which would connect a recreation area known as Shadow Lakes to the City of Wilmington. Reed-Custer District 255U would have lost substantial revenues during the life of the TIF District. At trial, Whitt Law attorneys successfully overcame the presumptive validity of the TIF ordinances by presenting clear and convincing evidence that the City’s eligibility study was seriously flawed. The Appellate Court agreed. See 192 Ill. Dec. 421.