OP budget proposal nixes vehicle stickers

Property tax would offset sticker-revenue loss

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

The proposed 2014 Oak Park budget has one element that could save the village $150,000 and eliminate the annual village vehicle sticker. The proposal, however, wouldn't save all residents money. In fact, it adds a tax that impacts all residents and property owners differently.

The village's parking fund, which faces a roughly $2 million deficit and is expected to be paid off by 2019, was discussed at Thursday's village board finance committee meeting. The budget item as currently written would get rid of the $65 vehicle sticker, eliminating the $1.25 million in revenue that comes with it. To offset that, however, the village would levy a property tax increase, generating $1.1 million. The $150,000 in savings comes from the staff costs and materials required to operate the sticker program.

The 2014 recommended budget summary (available on the village's website), said the tax increase would result in an annual increase of $95 for a home with a market value of $500,000.

On average, this means some residents would be paying less, and some more, than the current vehicle sticker costs — depending on home values and how many cars are registered in the village to that home.

The budget summary reviews both sides to implementing this tax.

"While the argument can be made that vehicle stickers are intended to tax individuals for ownership of a car and require car owners to participate more in the cost of village services to maintain roads and regulate traffic, it can also be argued that commercial properties in the village contribute to traffic and road use regardless of their individual ownership of vehicles," the report details.

"Therefore, a property tax in lieu of a vehicle sticker could be considered equitable."

Staff suggests the tax would be a "more efficient" method to collect instead of relying on fees brought in from vehicle stickers, especially since some residents don't comply with that regulation. The proposal also factors in the impact to businesses.

"If the revenue from vehicle stickers were shifted to a property tax levy, all businesses, inclusive of those without company vehicles, would be responsible for a portion of this tax," according to the budget summary.

Trustee Bob Tucker, a finance committee member, said the group did not take a position on the matter and said the issue needed to be discussed by the full board before accepting staff's recommendation.

"The conclusion reached was that it's certainly a very interesting concept that needed full board engagement. It's a big thing. Vehicle stickers have frustrated Oak Park for a long time," Tucker said. This included people who don't like the process and the cost and the people who don't like people who avoid buying the required sticker.

"I appreciate both schools of thought," Tucker said.

The tax increase could have benefits, he said.

"In one way, [the tax] is better because it's deductible," Tucker said. "Either way, Oak Parkers would still be paying money."

For Oak Parkers who don't drive, this tax would be an additional expense, but Tucker said there is a fairness argument that they, like everyone else, use and benefit from well-maintained streets and sidewalks. The tax increase would go directly into that fund.

In this specific instance, whether Oak Park taxes residents or charges a fee, it makes no difference, Tucker said.

"Oftentimes, politicians — locally and statewide — like to say they are not raising taxes, but they raise fees. I just want to have an honest conversation," he said. "It's money out of your pocket one way or the other. … Let's find a way to do it cheapest and fairest."

"What I'm concerned about most is the overall tax burden on Oak Parkers. I don't care if it's a tax or fee."

Tucker said no specific date is known when the full board will discuss this budget item but stressed the budget item was simply a proposal until it's formally adopted at the end of the year.

Email: anna@oakpark.com Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

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Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: November 11th, 2013 11:25 PM

At the Village Board meeting, I got clarity that, even though the Parking Dept. oversees vehicle stickers, the money generated by the stickers do not go in to the Parking Fund. The money goes in to the General Fund.


Posted: October 23rd, 2013 1:56 PM

I am stunned that anyone thinks a property tax hike is a good idea. Many struggle to continue to afford living in OP with our already exorbitant tax rates. Buying and affixing the sticker is not that hard -- it's silly to whine about something so minor. I easily remove the old sticker with a razor blade and Windex.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: October 22nd, 2013 5:44 PM

@james; Not whining, just asking a question. trying to learn from past mistakes.I don't see anyone wanting to put to tear up Lake St. and put the pedestrian mall back.How was the decision made to buy heated sidewalks. What was the cost.What is the loss. what have we learned.


Posted: October 22nd, 2013 4:20 PM

Really Brian are you still whining about the sidewalks? It's been what 5 years now? Get over it.

Brian Slowiak from Oak park  

Posted: October 22nd, 2013 1:21 PM

What was the cost of the failed heated sidewalks on Marion street and how does that cost figure into the shortfall?

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: October 22nd, 2013 12:40 PM

All commercial property owners will receive this proposed taxy levy as well, regardless of vehicle ownership. If the Vehicle Sticker Tax/Fee/License has no stated purpose, or funds a village service, I recommend ending it entirely (no sticker, no tax levy).

Apartment Owner from Oak Park  

Posted: October 22nd, 2013 12:17 PM

As an apartment owner, I'll get this slight increase in taxes too, and I'll pass it on to my tenants.

Bill from Oak Park   

Posted: October 22nd, 2013 11:43 AM

Amazing the comments against this reform. A clear sentiment here is eliminate the tax and add it on elsewhere because it is a nuisance. I agree. To the naysayers. Is this really an efficient tax? It looks like there is a 10% admin overhead. Does the revenue go to fund something we can see? Looks like it goes to the general fund and then the village claims it goes to road, but the clear link between the 2 is cloudy and I'll assume nobody believes the sticker funds all road repair in OP.

Broke and Cranky from Oak Park  

Posted: October 22nd, 2013 11:16 AM

We are homeowners and buy two vehicle stickers every year. I don't want to see this cost folded into my property taxes. Oak Park's outrageously high taxes are a disincentive to anyone who might consider buying a house here. Is there not anything that can be done to stop the taxing frenzy in this town? People, wake up.


Posted: October 22nd, 2013 8:26 AM

So once again, the people who own homes in OP will get screwed and the renters will get a pass. There's something wrong with this equation. Not surprising since there's a segment of Oak Parkers who don't mind and actually encourage non-residents to consume things that honest taxpayers are paying for.

MichaelO from Oak Park  

Posted: October 22nd, 2013 7:55 AM

This is wrong on so many levels. The village is outsmarting itself again, and taxpayers are going to regret folding vehicle tax into the property taxes. If anything we should increase the taxes for larger vehicles. You want to drive an SUV or pickup or van because you feel safer or it works for you then you pay for it. You pay for the extra wear and tear on our roads. You pay for obstructing the vision of fellow drivers.

harriet fisher from oak park  

Posted: October 22nd, 2013 3:38 AM

Why should property owners have to pay higher taxes to offset cost of elimination of city stickers? What about non property owners?

Out of Town  

Posted: October 21st, 2013 10:24 PM

..cheaper village stickers and sometimes people just haven't changed the address. I see it everyday. I do not ever recall hearing a vehicle description that mentioned if the car had a village sticker. Callers struggle enough with remembering the license plate let alone a village sticker. Please don't let anyone convince you that village stickers actually help cops identify suspicious vehicles. A random bumper sticker would be much more helpful for me to spot.

Out of Town  

Posted: October 21st, 2013 10:20 PM

@ Wilhelm, I am a police officer in another burb. I don't know where you get the idea officers use village stickers to identify cars that don't belong in the area but I never have nor have I heard of others doing so. A lack of a village sticker doesn't even inform you if the owner lives in town only that the owner has not registered the car there. Every town has residents with cars that are registered, under thier name, but a different address in another town for various reasons including...

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: October 21st, 2013 8:12 PM

In reviewing the village annual budget, website and Municipal Code (15-4-1), there is no stated purpose for the Vehicle Sticker. Seems the village is confused about it too, as their annual budget refers to it as a Tax, the website as a Fee, and the Municipal Code as a License. Nor are there any stated associated village services. The Vehicle Tax/Fee/License most closely resembles an excise tax, aka wheel tax, which is levied solely for the privilege of registration. Nothing more.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: October 21st, 2013 8:12 PM

Part 2: Therefore, the annual process of renewing and affixing a "decalcomania device" (term actually used in Municipal Code) to vehicle windshields that generates $1.25M of revenue overseen by the Parking Dept., whereupon $1M is transferred from the Parking Fund to the General Fund, has no offical purpose or associated municipal services. The proposal to conflate $1.1M of this purposeless revenue into a property tax levy simply renders it out of sight, out of mind. End the Vehicle Tax. Period

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: October 21st, 2013 4:36 PM

@Bridgett: the village budget describes the vehicle sticker as a tax, while the village website describes it as a fee. The legal basis for local govt. revenue is based on taxing, proprietary and regulatory powers, and the accounting and financial reporting requirements differ accordingly, as per the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB). It is not surprising the village annual budget no longer receives the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Assoc.

Please do this! from Oak Park  

Posted: October 21st, 2013 4:24 PM

This is a great idea. The sticker is and always has been just another way to generate revenue. If the same revenue can be collected via the property tax, $150,000 can be eliminated from the budget, we don't waste a lot of paper, and I can now deduct my payment, then this is a win-win-win-win.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: October 21st, 2013 4:04 PM

It would be best to start with identifying the purpose of the Vehicle Sticker (which the village terms a 'tax'), in order to understand its cost basis. Is it a tax levy based on cost of operations, such as street improvements? Or is the sticker charge a fee-for-service, a quid pro quo fee based on the cost of providing this service. In any event, it would appear the $50 fee is far more than the cost and administration of the decal itself. What is the purpose of the vehicle sticker?


Posted: October 21st, 2013 2:21 PM

Great idea. Vehicle stickers are a cumbersome, outdated method of tax collection. Our police officers should not be in the tax collecting business and honest folks who buy stickers should not be penalized. Those who don't have a car do benefit from good roads used by public works and safety.

OP Property Tax Shell Game  

Posted: October 21st, 2013 1:51 PM

Buried in the parking fund is the OPRFHS parking garage, which the village essentially gifted to the high school (some say to buy their support for TIF renewal). The source of the deficit is not salaries but unconscionably irresponsible spending on parking structures. In 2007, the OPRF garage had $500K in costs and $5K in revenue. As the ultimate kick in the teeth, OPRF wants to tear down the garage to build a new pool, so taxpayers get to pay for both new pool and old demo'd garage.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: October 21st, 2013 1:33 PM

I imagine that there will come a day when all these types of fees will start being attached to property tax bills - sewer, garbage collection. $45 per year vehicle sticker vs. an arbitrary number tied to the "value" of your home for tax purposes. This concept brings in a ton more revenue when comparing a Wright home against someone on South Taylor. (D200 referendum ring a bell?) Fair? Maybe, but why should the Wright home family pay much more for a sticker as a southsider?


Posted: October 21st, 2013 1:13 PM

OP is struggling to get its mojo back in education, reputation and taxes. This is yet another example of fire, shoot, aim. Not well thought out...


Posted: October 21st, 2013 1:11 PM

New OP slogan: where idealism and realtiy meet in your wallet. Yet another way to try to siphon more money from the hard-working people of Oak Park so they can subsidize the Village's disconnected agenda.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 21st, 2013 1:05 PM

@Enuf,Did you notice that this proposed tax increase is for the PARKING fund?And that the current stickers are also for the PARKING fund? How did the Village go from: "The Parking Fund is established to manage the cost and resources related to management of parking within the Village" to "maintain roads and regulate traffic?"It's all gotten so convoluted,we don't even know what the original intent of a tax or fee is anymore.Another reason why I don't want this folded in to my property tax bill.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 21st, 2013 12:57 PM

@Done, Great point. As property values go up, so will this proposed new tax that is to replace the current user-only $45/auto fee.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: October 21st, 2013 11:57 AM

The village argues that all commercial & residential properties contribute to road use, regardless of their individual vehicle ownership, and therefore a property tax in lieu of a vehicle sticker fee is considered equitable. Contrary to this claim, road improvements are already largely paid by property taxes, as well as the Motor Fuel Tax ($1.23M). Vehicle sticker fees couple road costs to road use by individual vehicle ownership, a cost / benefit relationship a property tax levy cannot provide.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: October 21st, 2013 11:52 AM

@Done from OP ... I agree, as using a property tax levy to replace vehicle stickers disconnects the purpose of a specific tax from intended effect and use. Also, how does the village provide accountability and transparency for the exisitng vehicle sticker revenue stream if it becomes part of the overall property tax levy? Ten years from now, when staff and village board are gone, how will it be remembered that a property tax levy in 2014 for $0.06 was approved to replace vehicle sticker revenue?

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: October 21st, 2013 9:35 AM

"Tucker said no specific date is known when the full board will discuss this budget item but stressed the budget item was simply a proposal until it's formally adopted at the end of the year." Great. Attach this to the property tax bill that will progressively go up as property values go up and - voila - revenue goes up. At what point when I am paying $300 a year for two stickers will the village say "OK, we're good now"? Leave it to all of us to fix the parking garage deficit problem.

Reduce Parking tickets to $20 from Smart and Fair  

Posted: October 20th, 2013 9:18 PM

The driver of the OP Parking ticket fiasco is the need to pay parking administration and personnel costs. Reduce Parking Personnel costs.

Make the Parking system less punitive! from Lower the fine to $20  

Posted: October 20th, 2013 9:12 PM

2) Cut the price of the tickets to $ 20. $20 is enough to fine someone who is in a fix or forgot to move the car. They will avoid making the same mistake. 3) If someone pays within 72 hours cut the fine by $5. Behavior should be the issue. 4) Make the overnight pass system digital. This will help cost reduction, tracking and communication

OP Parking Tickets Unfair from Lower Ticket cost to $20  

Posted: October 20th, 2013 9:10 PM

1) Reduce the employee cost .. go contract .. hire OP seniors .. OP stay at home moms ... OP college students. Make it less dramatic ... No insurance or benefits and ... another set of eyes invested in the fabric of the community. Or just issue less tickets. The screw all visitors all the time is not working.

Downsize Parking Payroll from Reduce Ticket to $20 from $30  

Posted: October 20th, 2013 9:07 PM

The parking payroll and benefits has got to be over $2 Million. With collected revenue at 70 % of issued, 50,000 tickets a year need to to cover personnel costs. That's 4,000 tickets a month. Or 130 tickets a day/365 per year to pay the employee overhead. This is the crux of the problem. If the employees do not produce tickets, they have no budget and will get laid off.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 20th, 2013 6:25 PM

The Finance Committee is meeting on Thursday nights, breaking down the proposed 2014 budget, discussing a handful of items at a time. Here's where the agendas are posted... http://www.oak-park.us/your-government/village-board-agendas-minutes I am unable to attend on Thursdays, and there isn't video provided. Bummer for me. Here is this Thursday's agenda... http://www.oak-park.us/sites/default/files/village-board-agendas/2013-agendas/2013-10-24-finance-committee-agenda.pdf

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 20th, 2013 6:15 PM

@BR, you are correct, and thank you for pointing this out about a new position being created to the tune of $95K a year. "Assistant Director of Parking and Mobility Services." And yes, this is in addition to the Parking Fund Director (which is currently being held by an interim director). Pages 20-21 of the PDF (16-17 of the hard copy). Here's a link for anyone interested... http://www.oak-park.us/sites/default/files/budgets/2014-budget-recommendations.pdf

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 20th, 2013 6:00 PM

@Speedway, Just the current price of the sticker is inaccurate. And one has to do the math in order to see if they'd be spending more or less. Basically, those who would be paying less (or nothing) are renters (non property owners) and those with 2 or more cars in homes valued at $500K or less. Those with only one car will be paying less at the $240K mark. Yes, it would be deductible, so your tax bracket and if you itemize will determine a small discount to the property tax increase.

Budget Reader  

Posted: October 20th, 2013 2:08 PM

To Jennings: The budget already includes an interim director. If you read correctly, it calls for holding that position and ADDING an Asst. Director for $95,500 per year. Vehicle sticker sales are only a small portion of the work that is done in the parking office. Vehicle stickers had been sold for years through the Village Clerks Office up until 3 years ago when the duties were transferred to the parking department.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: October 20th, 2013 11:24 AM

@Bridgett ... I was aware of your earlier comment re. the correct vehicle sticker fee, which led me to the village website to review. Thanks. In addition to the vehicle sticker fee being $50 (or $45 if paid online), it should be noted that senior citizens and the disabled pay $39 ($35 online). It seems more and more that changing from a vehicle fee to an increased property tax rate is a regressive tax policy, as it incurs greater cost on senior citizens, disabled, and those without a vehicle.

Speedway from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 20th, 2013 11:19 AM

Thank you Bridget for reminding us what the last sticker cost ($45). So all the numbers in this article are wrong with the end result we are all going to be paying more not less. I think this needs to be rethought out. Paying that much more for convenience is not worth it. Wednesday Journal what do you say about the facts in your article?

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 20th, 2013 9:01 AM

I commented on this way down the page, but I'll say it again, more clearly: the vehicle stickers are NOT $65. This article is wrong about that. They are $45. And you pay an additional $5 if you don't do the transaction online. Here is a link to all the various fees http://www.oak-park.us/sites/default/files/vehicle-sticker-2013.pdf

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: October 20th, 2013 8:03 AM

I am not sure where the "$150,000 in savings comes from the staff costs and materials required to operate the sticker program", as stated in the article. The only line item in the village budget for vehicle stickers is from the General Fund for $90,122 (p. 96). This amount is comprised of staff salary ($55,457 + $24,415 fringe benefits) and materials ($10,250, which I assume is for stickers). In addition, the budget states (p. 90) that the IT Dept. recently streamlined the sticker process.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: October 20th, 2013 7:56 AM

The village budget (p.95) estimates the auto population at nearly 30,000, which is aligned with the U.S. Census estimate of 29,344. A vehicle sticker is $50 for autos ($45 online), not $65 as stated in the article; so there are about 25,000 vehicle stickers ($1,25M revenue budget / $50 per sticker), leaving about 4,344 vehicles w/o a sticker. The fine for failure to display a sticker is only $50 ticket, plus a $20 late-payment penalty, which may explain why there are 4,344 stickerless vehicles.


Posted: October 20th, 2013 7:55 AM

why does it take 3 full time clerks to administer the sticker program? Seems like 3 temps from May through the end of July should satisfy the rush when the stickers are due.

No Sticker from Oak Park  

Posted: October 20th, 2013 6:56 AM

Enuf highlights for a me the best reason for eliminating the sticker. Too many Oak Parkers get away with never buying one and placing the burden on law-abiding residents. A family in a house on my block brags about never buying one. I have one car, and my house is in the $300,000 range. I'll probably be taxed about the same as I pay now, but that payment will be tax deductible and save me a little money. It also will save me a lot of hassle, and save everyone a lot of paper. Yes to this!

Speedway from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 20th, 2013 12:33 AM

To Enuf is Enuf. A lot of people just do not buy village stickers even though they live in Oak Park. The police do not have the manpower to check for every sticker though they try. Some cars are registered outside of Oak Park although the residents live in OP. This allows those drivers to avoid a ticket for not having a city sticker. That's why the coffers are short probably.

Neighbor from Oak,park  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 11:56 PM

Speedway and Bridgett, I share your concern about rolling cost of parking stickers into property taxes. Of course the parking dept. will continue to need money and taxes will be raised at our unknown expense in the future. Why muddy the waters at Village Hall more than they already are?

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 11:37 PM

There is also the matter of vertical inequity. According to the U.S. Census (2007-2011 ACS), of the 21,910 occupied housing units in Oak Park, 2,888 units have no vehicle (and pay $0 for 0 stickers), and 10,033 units have only 1 vehicle (and pay $65 for 1 sticker). The proposed policy of replacing vehicle stickers with a property tax increase, will likely result in a cost increase for those with no or 1 vehicle, while those with the means for 2 or more vehicles will likely pay less.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 11:32 PM

Jim - haven't heard about Congress trying to destroy the Post Office to give private business to their donors. I have my doubts about that though. Fed Ex and all the other private "mail service" have the cream of the delivery service. They get all the business within a hundred mile radius of airports with sizable passenger and commercial service. The USPS gets the rest of the country (rural). That is; USPS is forced to serve the most remote parts of U.S.where the cost of delivery is so high that there is no profit to be made while Fed-Ex can haul billions of pounds of high profit delivery at for pennies. I suspect Congress would love to turn all deliveries to the private sector (without subsidies) I also suspect that The Fed-Ex lobbyists ain't gonna let that happen.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 11:05 PM

The U.S Census (2007-2011 ACS) includes an estimated 29,334 "available vehicles" in Oak Park. At $65 per sticker, that would be $1.9M in revenue. According to the village numbers, village stickers generate $1.5M in revenue, or $0.4M less than $1.9M. Therefore, it appears 6,257 available vehicles (21%) owned by Oak Park residents do not have a vehicle sticker. Why such a large discrepancy?

Clarification from Oak Park  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 10:45 PM

@ Budget Reader: read a little more. That's a position already occupied by an interim employee -- just a permanent title. Love the idea of eliminating the sticker. Makes fiscal sense, and it's easier on residents. Hilarious that people still complain.

Budget Reader  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 9:48 PM

Read the budget. I believe it is page 21. Why is Ms. Pavlicek requesting an additional management employee in the Parking Department with a salary of $95,500. There goes most of your savings of $150,000. If she eliminates 3 clerical workers who earn $32,000 a year she has money for her new manager. Its a shell game.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 9:21 PM

Bridgett - agreed, however i doubt that OP will be willing to give up it's wheel tax windfall any time soon.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 9:05 PM

@joe, It appears that OP is spending around $5 a sticker just in administrative costs. That, to me, is something to be analyzed. Folding this fee into property taxes seems to completely ignore the issue of inefficiencies that exist in, not just the vehicle sticker process, but other services at Village Hall. I'm interested in solving *those* problems, rather than continually increasing my taxes (while telling me that doing so, is the "cheapest and fairest" thing to do).

joe from south oak park  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 8:14 PM

wilhelm - the vehicle stickers in Norridge were $5 when I moved to Oak Park. I'd like to see OP's sticker price come down at least $15, but look at Chicago. That's just crazy.

Wilhelm from Oak Park  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 8:00 PM

Vehicle Stickers help Police Officers to immediately identify cars that belong in an area, and cars that don't. A car that doesn't have a sticker may be a car that is at the time being used in the commission of a crime, or, of course it may not. Eliminate the sticker, and take away a big tool that Officers use to do their job. Has anyone even thought about this, or is all just about the supposed savings? If Oak Park really cares about accountability, in this sense, ul leave the sticker alone

Speedway from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 7:48 PM

I still have reservations about burying our sticker fees in our property taxes. Raise our taxes a certain amount this year and the ability to keep raising them year after year and it's buried in our property tax bill so who is wiser of the increases. Don't want to find out in 5 years we are paying $300 per property for a car sticker. Anyone else have a similar concern?


Posted: October 19th, 2013 5:01 PM

Oh please yes! I dread the yearly car sticker trip to Village Hall and then the scraping off of the old one. As a commercial property owner I don't even care about a little bit more in taxation; it'll save my new tenants the hassle of learning about OP's sticker nonsense by way of an unexpected ticket.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 3:20 PM

John, understand that some members of Congress are doing every thing they can to see that the Postal Service fails. They are linked to big donors who are in the package delivery business. It's not been a fair fight. Senator Bernie Sanders has been championing the right for the public to know exactly who is trying to sink the post office and why. Hope you will read what he has to say on the matter.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 2:06 PM

OP Concerned - I agree with the decision. It addresses a budget issue and that is good. My concern is the slowness of the Parking Dept. debt reduction and the possibility that the Parking Department has becoming a permanent cripple requiring subsidies. Parking could be market rate which would enrage the DTOP business community. There theory is low parking rates increases business driven tax revenues. I have never seen data to prove that. The alternative is free parking all the time. LaGrange has free parking and is a retail star. I assume that is because parking fee losses are offset by increase retail taxes driven by a thriving business community. My assumption might be wrong, but it is worth a look. Our major retail competition comes from the malls of the west -- 100% free parking. Retail competition is increasing in our neighboring communities. Are they charging for parking? The minor budgetary adjustment is fine, but I think the Finance Committee needs to dig deeper on the issue.

Ditch the sticker!  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 2:00 PM

We love this idea! The vehicle sticker is unevenly enforced and spreading the burden to taxes is both more fair and a more efficient use of govt/taxpayer time. Win-win for everybody.

Oak Parker Concerned About Taxes from Oak Park  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 12:20 PM

Does anyone believe that a sticker stops someone from getting another car in Oak Park? This is exactly how I want all the taxing bodies to be thinking. It saves taxpayers a lot of money every year and it simplifies the process. This is a great idea. Mr. Murtaugh, you often have good ideas in these comments, and I'm surprised that you seem opposed to this. Keep it up Oak Park!

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 12:08 PM

Essentially, this parking authority change is similar to the U.S. Post Office - an independent corporation depended on the government. The idea is clever, but could lead to a precedent of residents directly and permanently underwriting parking through property taxes. I agree with Enuf and Bridgett that parking should be user tax if we believe that car use reduction is a meaningful goal.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 9:43 AM

This proposed policy appears disconnected from the village's current environmental policy of promoting walkability, bike lanes and public transportation usage, relative to vehicular transportation. With the proposed policy, all property owners pay the same, even if one reduced their carbon footprint by reducing vehicular usage and ownership.

Tina from Oak Park  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 7:07 AM

Other communities have already done this. The savings is really more than $150,000 to taxpayers. You can easily add on another $150,000 because of the deduction, so after three years this is almost $1,000,000 of Oak Park taxpayer money saved! And now I don't have to scrape off a sticker from my windshield every year. No brainier. Do it.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 3:00 AM

"It's money out of your pocket one way or the other. ? Let's find a way to do it cheapest and fairest." By taxing someone on the value of their house, in essence the person is being taxed based on how much money they have, not on their usage. And the more money they have, regardless of their useage is more than others, they end up paying more $$ than their neighbors who don't have as much money. What is being proposed is a progressive tax. Not all agree that a progressive tax is the "fairest."

Q from OakPark  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 12:10 AM

Give some thought to the parking fund. How was everything paid when meters were used and the cost was inexpensive. What happened was the village created costs that are now paid for by parking fee's, and now that people have learned their lesson and pay the meter preventing a ticket, the parking fund needs another way to collect money and they want it from taxing you. They will go back to the village tag's when they still need more money.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 12:03 AM

RichF from Oak Park, Police Officer's don't make traffic stops because of a village sticker.

RichF from Oak Park  

Posted: October 18th, 2013 11:20 PM

All other municipalities require a vehicle sticker. When a cop sees a car without one will that give him the opportunity to stop you to run your plates to see if he can issue you a ticket?

Bill from Oak Park  

Posted: October 18th, 2013 10:10 PM

Please make this happen. The stickers are such a stupid Chicago tradition. Why can't the village apply a flat tax of $100 to all property owners?

Makes Sense from Oak Park  

Posted: October 18th, 2013 10:04 PM

This would save $150,000 a year overall for Oak Park taxpayers, and I would be saved the hassle of the sticker? And now my share is tax deductible? Sounds like a good idea.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 18th, 2013 9:54 PM

One potential revenue source that trustees have refused to even consider is day permits to park in the Village Hall parking lot or on the surrounding neighborhood streets. Overnight parkers who use the same lot are charged. Everyone else who works or attends school in Oak Park and drives are not provided with free and unlimited public parking privileges. For some reason, the trustees believe it is fair to exempt Village Hall staff, even non-residents employees, from paying to help offset the costs for maintenance and snow removal. Hard to understand or justify this policy. If increasing revenue is really the goal in order to eliminate the parking fund deficit, make sure the rules and regulations apply to all.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: October 18th, 2013 9:34 PM

Lucas, not in Oak Park. Each year, there is a list generated of vehicle owners registered in Oak Park, and it is compared with people who bought a village sticker. For those who didn't, each car is located by address and given a ticket by a Police Officer.

Lucas from Oak Park  

Posted: October 18th, 2013 8:48 PM

The vehicle sticker requirement hits honest people and people who have to park on street (i.e. mostly condo dwellers). People who have their own parking spot (i.e. home owners) can evade this fee since they usually have a garage.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: October 18th, 2013 8:26 PM

This is a successful tactic used when you want to increase money and let tax payers think they are getting the better end of the deal, but in the long term tax payers end up paying more. With this program, in one to two years there is a modest increase in taxes required for the parking fund. In 3 to 4 years the village goes back to requiring village stickers and won't drop the taxes.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 18th, 2013 7:56 PM

"...budget item as currently written would get rid of the $65 vehicle sticker..." The stickers for a regular auto are $45. And an extra $5 if renewed in person rather than online.

JP in OP from Oak Park  

Posted: October 18th, 2013 7:03 PM

Kudos to VOP for thinking this through. My family, with 1 car & a house > $500k, would pay more, but it is an itemized deduction and eliminates my hassle as well as VOP administration. The wear & tear on OP streets comes from drivers throughout Chicagoland, so little reason for a sticker fee just on drivers who start from OP. Are there other reasons for the stickers?

OP res 253 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 18th, 2013 6:06 PM

I think the fact that all vehicle owners consume these public services, regardless of home value, equally, is an argument that such a scheme is unfair.

RF from OP  

Posted: October 18th, 2013 5:58 PM

seems to be no reason to do this ??

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