Oak Parkers approve consolidation study

Village to further consider merging with township, park district, library

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Oak Park voters overwhelmingly approved a non-binding referendum in the Nov. 6 midterm election, giving the Village of Oak Park the go ahead to further study merging with Oak Park Township, the Park District of Oak Park and the Oak Park Public Library.

With all 37 precincts counted, 61.39 percent of voters said yes to the referendum question: "Shall the merger and consolidation of Oak Park taxing bodies be considered, including, but not limited to, the Village of Oak Park, Oak Park Township, the Oak Park Public Library and the Park District of Oak Park, to determine if there would be efficiencies, the elimination of redundancies, and/or property tax reduction for the residents of Oak Park?"

A combined 16,189 voters said yes to studying consolidation, while 10,181 voted no.

The referendum was presented to the Oak Park Board of Trustees earlier this year by the Taxing Bodies Efficiencies Task Force, an ad hoc committee established by the board of trustees to find ways to reduce the property tax burden in the village.

Oak Park Township voters also approved a non-binding referendum about safe storage of firearms that asked: "Shall all firearms be required by law to be stored in a safe and secure manner that prevents access by unauthorized persons, when such firearms are not under the direct personal control of the owner?"

The question was approved by 91.55 percent of voters, with 22,550 voting yes and 2,226 voting no.

tim@oakpark.com

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Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: November 10th, 2018 8:55 PM

That 60% shows how many people in this town very much want to see something concrete being done to lower taxes. This vote and the last vote on the pool are indications of what happens when locals get to vote on their taxes. It is very likely why the Imagine group is so afraid to have a vote on that project.

Jeffrey Smith  

Posted: November 8th, 2018 4:41 AM

Grand Theft Autocrat.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: November 8th, 2018 3:23 AM

Why did the task force need to ask if the merger should be studied? The process of placing the advisory referendum was seemingly rushed and without providing information on potential cost benefits Of course, residents are seeking a property tax reduction but will efficiencies and elimination of redundancies really produce a significant impact on our tax bill.? Those numbers need to be clearly defined before the community is asked to formally approve a merger. I trust the Village board intends to put that question to the voters prior to taking any formal action. It would also be helpful to know if a proposed merger will require the contracting of outside legal services for each of the agencies or if in-house counsel will be responsible for all legal matters relating to the action. Trustees who have pledged transparency in our local government should be prepared to share with the community all relevant data and study results.

Martin A. Berg from Oak Park  

Posted: November 7th, 2018 5:51 PM

Given the margins on the other referenda on the ballot, I would scarcely say that a 3-2 margin could be characterized as "overwhelming." As a voter (who voted No, because, well, see below) I also must say that I felt very underinformed both about the consequences of passing the referendum and the process for the "study." But when reporting about this it would be helpful not to glibly decide that a margin like that was "overwhelming" when it was merely a solid majority.

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