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Aaa-rated College of Lake County advances mission with fiscal commitments in the community

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Dec 15, 2021

College of Lake County demonstrates its strong fiscal position while advancing priorities of growth and student success despite unpredictable pandemic environment with a re-affirmed Aaa bond rating from Moody’s Investment Services. The continued strategic investments align campus facilities with overarching goals for improved student experience.

CLC first received the Aaa rating—the highest possible—in 2012, and the rating was re-affirmed in 2021, when the college announced the sale of $50 million in General Obligation Bonds. The bond sale sustains a current critical capital project investment to launch the Advanced Technology Center in Gurnee, expanding programming to serve the local manufacturing industry, and the future development of an outdoor sports complex at the Grayslake campus. The bond also supports major deferred maintenance across all three campuses. The $50 million bond sale was successfully completed Dec. 2 and will close Dec. 21.

“The Aaa bond rating from Moody’s demonstrates ample liquidity and reserves, revenue raising flexibility and manageable debt profile,” said CLC Vice President of Business Services and Finance/Chief Financial Officer Kevin Appleton. “While the bond sale funds a portion of the master facilities plan projects currently underway, the remainder will be financed by grants, donations and funds on hand.”

The diverse regional tax base supports a healthy financial profile. The stable outlook reflects the district’s low reliance on state operating aid, a very stable operating history as well as its sophisticated master plan and strategic plan.

At its December meeting, the Board approved two resolutions for the official adoption of an aggregate tax levy, including the 2021 tax levy and abating tax levy Series 2013A and Series 2017. While the Lake County Clerk determines the actual amount of property taxes to be extended on the 2021 levy after applying the final December 2020 CPI tax cap rate and any final determination of the addition of new property in the tax base, CLC anticipates the actual levy to be approximately 2.5 percent.

CLC’s estimate is based on the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), which limits the CPI-U rate for 2021 levy at 1.4%. Property equalized assessed value (EAV) growth is projected at 1%, new construction for 2021 is projected at $153 million, and projected dissolving TIF District total $45.3 million. Of the 69 percent of the property tax bill that goes to schools in Lake County, CLC makes up only 4 percent of the funds. Currently, Lake County home owners pay approximately $94 in property taxes per $100,000 in home value. With the projected 2021 tax levy, homeowners will pay an additional $10.98 per $100,000.

CLC aspires to be a leader in providing innovative education and workforce solutions. Good stewardship of resources, including strategic investments from the bond and tax levy, benefit surrounding communities by ensuring a diverse skilled talent pipeline exists to meet local workforce needs and that educational attainment leading to a rewarding career is accessible to every resident of Lake County.

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.