Second installment Cook County property tax bills apparently may be significantly delayed this year—per a Cook County Board of Review commissioner, possibly even six months late. The delay stems from technological updates at the Cook County Assessor’s Office preventing it from forwarding assessment data to the Cook County Board of Review, which in turn will delay Board of Review certification of assessments and County Treasurer and Clerk finalization of the property tax bills.
By statute, Cook County first installment bills are equal to 55% of the prior year’s total taxes and must be mailed in January. The second installment, to be mailed out by June 30, seeks the remaining amount of taxes due. Although second installment bills have been on time most of the last ten years, a delayed mailing date this year could mean second installment property tax bills would not be due until after the start of 2023, about when taxpayers will pay next year’s first installment property taxes.
Late-mailed bills delaying the collection of property tax revenues have the potential to put a pinch on school district budgets. However, school districts have options for maintaining their short-term cash flow despite a delay in property tax revenues. School boards can manage current cash allocations through interfund loans among their operating funds, or through permanent interfund transfers. Additional cash inflow can be obtained by “anticipating,” or drawing against, the delayed property taxes through issuance of tax anticipation warrants or notes, or obtaining a line of credit, all payable when the property taxes are ultimately received. School boards also can anticipate state aid payments through lines of credit or state aid anticipation certificates and obtain advances of other streams of revenue through personal property replacement tax notes, revenue anticipation notes, or teacher orders. All these alternatives must comply with specific statutory procedures, and consultation with legal counsel is advised. If your district would like to explore short-term cash-flow options for weathering the expected delay in property tax collections, please contact Steve Richart, Heather Brickman, Tony Senagore, or any other attorney in our Corporate Practice Group.