Oak Park electees hope to ease tax burden

Following election, politicians eye collaboration to find savings

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

On the campaign trail in recent months, one image surfaced for Ray Johnson, who was elected to a third term on the Oak Park village board last week. An elderly man answered his door, who was quivering and nearly cried in front of a couple of strangers.

The older gentleman had hoped to retire here, Johnson recalled, but said rising property taxes are forcing him out. With that image in mind, Johnson and his running mates held a summit on Saturday morning at Eastgate Café, hoping to spark intergovernmental cooperation to save taxpayer dollars.

"That's a tough encounter," Johnson said. "And I will remember him for a very long time. A 30-year resident and he's leaving. I think it's incumbent on us to think as creatively as possible about ways we can work together and think about the impact of the taxes on so many people who are struggling."

Intergovernmental cooperation has been a catch phrase in local campaigns for years, but without many tangible results. Johnson — along with fellow Village Manager Association-endorsed candidates Robert Tucker and Adam Salzman — want to make good on one of their campaign promises, starting this past weekend.

Newly elected members from every local governing body attended on Saturday (village board, park district, library, elementary schools and high school). Also in attendance were Village President David Pope, along with Township Supervisor David Boulanger.

Suggested ideas included pooling purchases to save money, or bunching employees together in the same health care pool.

David Sokol, who was recently elected to a spot on the library board and has been involved in local politics for decades, said he's been hearing local politicians talk about intergovernmental cooperation for 30 years. He thinks mass purchasing and sharing technology make sense, but saving real money means sharing positions among taxing bodies.

"That's where the executive director or leader of every taxing body is going to scream bloody murder and not want to give up any control and say everyone is working as hard as they can already," Sokol said.

But Salzman said it's probably not worth discussing layoffs at this point, and it might be more productive to start small and build incrementally.

"I think it's important to start from a constructive place, rather than to talk about eliminating positions and things like that, which are obviously very unpleasant topics of discussion and probably don't have a high chance of success right out of the gate," he said.

Paul Aeschleman, elected to the park board, said all entities should work together when placing signs around Oak Park, and maintaining facilities.

"We could talk all we want, but the public wants to see things get done," he said. "And the best way to get things done is to pick things that you can actually get done."

Peter Traczyk, just elected to his second term on the District 97 school board, agreed that Oak Park government needs to find bigger-ticket items to address if it really wants to reduce the tax burden. He believes there's value in just starting the conversation and meeting with each other, and he said a lot of intergovernmental cooperation already goes on. He said, ultimately, it's the top administrators who would make that collaboration happen.

"That's how stuff at the practical level really gets done," he said. "We just need to point them in the right direction."

The two re-elected incumbents on the District 200 high school board — Ralph Lee and Sharon Patchak-Layman — cautioned that intergovernmental cooperation isn't as easy as it sounds. Lee said it's unrealistic to expect the high school to just jump into the effort.

Patchak-Layman characterized the discussion as informal and was loathe to attach any requirements to it. The rest of the District 200 board wasn't even briefed on the idea, she said.

President Pope said he believes Oak Park's elected officials needed to start thinking more like taxpayers and less like politicians. He also questioned, with so many people are showing up to apply for jobs, if it is necessary to give such generous raises and benefit packages to public employees.

Johnson asked members of each elected body to seek out two members to participate in the process. He hopes to find out by May who is on board with the effort, and to meet again in the next two months.

Reader Comments

73 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 22nd, 2011 11:31 PM

(Opening TIF Books for Review) David Pope stated on the Date Set for Mediation on Oak Park TIF Lawsuit ADD YOUR COMMENTS page that: "The Village would welcome the chance for an open public discussion regarding all aspects of this issue. We clearly are not the ones standing in the way of that." The first duty or effort of the members of the Council of Governments' group should be to 1) identify who is standing in the way, and 2) get the TIP books opened for review.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 10:28 AM

Last time there was intergovernmental cooperation, it resulted in the Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement of 2003, which extended the downtown TIF for 12 years. The agreement was so complicated and ill-managed, by the admission of all signatory parties (Village of OP, D97, D200), that it resulted in the current D200 lawsuit against the village and indirectly to the D97 referendum. Intergovernmental cooperation is a nice idea, but is often compromised by local self-interests and incompetency.

OP ( the real McCoy)  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 9:47 AM

I welcome the idea for intergovernmental cooperation when it comes to lowering everyone's tax burden.

OP  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 9:29 AM

Try telling your garbage company, insurance co or heat utility that you don't want to pay. Sometimes there is no competition (ie. utilities). Building owners will pay and Do pay. Short answer YES, Again. From one sister to another, prices rise and so do taxes.

J.oak park  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 8:34 AM

@OP you state "Adam, Can owners protest the increases in maintenance, refuse pick up, heat, insurance? Short answer-No" the short answer is yes not no. Negotiate, brother... but then again I don't take you as the kind to negotiate, your probably the kind that thinks they are always right...

OP  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 7:07 PM

No flaws here. The point about expenses(of all kinds) going up is true. There is no one company that charges 1999 prices while another charges 2011. Sorry. You've taken my "argument" out of context. The definition of affordability is relative. I was speaking of the gentleman who owns a house in OP and cant afford to live here any longer. I don't buy that. As for the Comcast project, its affordability is very different than any apt on the market. Apples and oranges.

OP parent  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 4:25 PM

Dan, you said, "Technically the entire D97 is on the state watch list for under performing." I hadn't heard this. Could you please provide a cite?

sbc@sbc.com  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 4:00 PM

If OP is seriously considering saving taxpayer money, then consolidate the Township government with the Village government. The governor raised this very issue along with too many schoold districts. The township is great, but if they really care they should merge with the village. Ali knows this...

Dan  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 3:52 PM

I moved to OP from Chicago where both houses had nearly identical assessed values by the county. Chicago tax = 3,200/year Oak Park tax = 20,500/year That is over 600% more than my Chicago taxes for the same valued property in the same county. Thinking about moving back to Chicago. The schools here aren't even that good according to the rating bodies. Technically the entire D97 is on the state watch list for under performing

j.oakpark  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 3:41 PM

not bickering, not a multi unit owner and don't intend to be in Oak Park or in any other location. Just pointing out flaws in your argument. I am glad to see that you think that there is affordable apartments for rent in Oak Park already, which undermines your argument for the SRO on Madison. Cheers and happy ready and getting angry. best regards my most wonderful of OP neighbors.

OP  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 3:32 PM

j. You also have the right to buy a building somewhere else. Option is yours. Now quite your bickering. Ask any of the LARGER apt building owners and see how much money they lost last yr? Curious.

OP Resident  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 11:40 AM

It's no picnic owning a multi-family building. Oak Park has strict code enforcement and units are inspected on a regular basis. Comply or be fined. A judge will still demand that the violations be corrected. This does help maintain our housing stock but puts a lot of pressure on property owners. A regular plan for maintenance and upgrades is the only way some owners are able to just break even. Attracting and keeping quality tenants are key factors.

j.oakpark  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 11:25 AM

@OP, i don't know why i ever respond to you, but you suck me in with your bad logic all the time: Building owner can choose who they pay for maintenance, and negotiate a price, yes. They can choose a waste removal service(more than 5 units you are not on the village plan) so yes again. Insurance, ever price shop for insurance?...needless to say, yes again. change from boiler to heat pump and save money on heating bills.

OP  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 10:20 AM

Adam, Can owners protest the increases in maintenance, refuse pick up, heat, insurance? Short answer-No. My point is that it is/would be cheaper to rent in OP than to own for most. The building owners in this town get RICH on the backs of renters. The equation is simple. Total rents minus expenses = your profits. Start over every yr. There are plenty of well off building owners in OP. They will be just fine.

Adam Smith  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 9:57 AM

@OP - Apartment owners generally pay for all maintenance of the building, insurance, sometimes heat and refuse removal, debt service (largest cost) AND taxes. Increased costs adversely affects both the profitability and need to charge higher rent. If all apartment buildings are equally charged higher taxes all apartment rental will likely go up.

Carollina Song from Oak Park  

Posted: April 19th, 2011 10:34 PM

Keep in mind that Cook County lowered the property tax rate on rental properties, shifting more of the burden onto single-family homeowners.

Happy to see high taxes  

Posted: April 19th, 2011 8:56 PM

When the taxes go up low lifes can't move in with there kids...this in return in impacts the achievement gap because you don't have those morons taking the tests that make our school look poor. Keep the taxes high and our test scores will go up. Look at River Forest's elementary schools it shows....Its a hard pill to swallow but this is the truth...we can't save everyone but we can save our own.

OP  

Posted: April 19th, 2011 8:09 PM

Every investment is different. If someone owns a multi unit building(5 ) they may ONLY pay taxes, Etc. It doesnt take too many months of rent to come up with the tax bill. So in that case, higher taxes doesn't mean higher rents. Plus you can only go so high in rents, yet property taxes are limitless. No?

Curious George from Oak Park  

Posted: April 19th, 2011 4:39 PM

ih8idiots - if real estate taxes were lowered, would your rent go down? Or would it stay the same, and the value of the apartment building go up?

ih8idiots  

Posted: April 19th, 2011 4:03 PM

Anyone who thinks that renters don't pay property taxes, and that their rent is not effected by increases in property taxes, should really exempt themselves from any discussion involving property taxes.

Ken from Oak Park  

Posted: April 19th, 2011 3:37 PM

OP--Good to know you've got your finger on the pulse of Oak Park. Now people can save much time and effort collecting actual data with silly surveys. Seriously--your points are really weak.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 19th, 2011 3:16 PM

OP -- visit the site.

OP  

Posted: April 19th, 2011 2:56 PM

I've lived in OP my whole life and I have insight(not insider info) as to how OP'ers think. OP is ALL about diversity and that includes economic as well as others.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: April 19th, 2011 2:29 PM

OP. Do you have insider information on that claim? Or...any information to back up your claim?? My guess is OPers don't know which does not equal agreement or support. Smart OPers will learn about this before it's too late and speak up. Fortunately they can learn more at https://sites.google.com/site/concernedmadisonoakpark/

OP  

Posted: April 19th, 2011 1:41 PM

More people in OP are in favor of affordable housing for those who are hard working and trying to make it in Oak Park than not. John, this happens to be one of many topics in which you think govt is against you. Your survey results of Oak Parker's is off base my friend. The only people that are opposed are the NIMBYs and thats NOT the majority of OP.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 19th, 2011 12:28 PM

Pres. Pope said he believes OP elected officials needs to start thinking more like taxpayers and less like politicians. I couldn't agree more with the exception of the need to "start thinking like taxpayers." I think that should have said "start listening to taxpayers." The Madison Ave Housing Proposal is a perfect example of listening only to the inner circle. The Council of Govs should take a long look at: https://sites.google.com/site/concernedmadisonoakpark. We need better processes in OP.

OP  

Posted: April 16th, 2011 11:18 AM

Really Ted? You learn something every day. For some who may own outright and only pay Taxes and water/Garbage, it can be CHEAPER to pay a rent than to pay $1,200 /Month for those two expenses. Yes its true. At $1,200/ Month that could easily be $200($800/Yr) for water/garbage and a $1000 for property taxes.($12,000/Yr)

Ted Geisel from Whoville  

Posted: April 16th, 2011 7:47 AM

Good one Tom. Not to mention OP's total ignorance of most things especially the real estate industry. Clue - there IS a relationship between apartment rental and taxes.

Tom Scharre  

Posted: April 16th, 2011 7:21 AM

@OP...I believe your self-evident moral superiority is nurtured by the skim milk of human kindness. Peace.

OP  

Posted: April 16th, 2011 1:08 AM

There is room for all in Oak Park. There are condos, townhouses, smaller houses, big houses.Take your pick, and better yet, HE COULD rent which means he pays NO PROPERTY TAX BUT GETS THE BENEFITS OF LIVING HERE.

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: April 15th, 2011 2:43 PM

@OP. Yes, I'm familiar with all of the county "sr" options. If you move, you can only "transfer" the basic sr exemption - which is worth no more than $250. The article suggests to me that his wish of "hoped to retire here" meant in his OP home. And that "rising property taxes are forcing him out" is a story worth telling. He likely has no mortgage and thus proceeds from sale will disqualify him from subsidized sr housing. No room for middle-class in OP today? But if there's no bread - cake?

OP  

Posted: April 15th, 2011 2:08 PM

All the options are still avail to him. I'm sure you have all three Chet? If not 4! He can always move into Heritage House, Mills Tower or the Oaks. Next.

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: April 15th, 2011 1:43 PM

@OP. Unfortunately, I am correct. Here's the link: http://cookcountytreasurer.com/services.aspx?ntopicid=24. The "freeze" is just that, a "freeze" of your current assessed rate. So, if he buys a new home, the assessed rate is frozen at the present value. It then becomes valuable IF prop values in OP increase - while your's is frozen. In case you didn't notice, prop values are definitely NOT increasing. So, sadly, your "options are examples" which "alleviate"....nothing.

OP  

Posted: April 15th, 2011 1:02 PM

Chet, Relief is there. My options are examples of how Seniors can alleviate some of the high tax burdens. Not true about the freezing your taxes at a high rate.

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: April 15th, 2011 12:40 PM

@OP. Um, if you move, you don't qualify for the "long term exemption" and the "Sr. Freeze" simply freezes the already high taxes of the property that one just purchased - and with assessments likely to decline, well, that doesn't help much any way. BTW, how do you know that he didn't already live in a "smaller sized" home? Why not just simply advise him, "if you can't afford the bread, you can instead buy cake!"?

Elizabeth Ritzman from OP  

Posted: April 15th, 2011 7:35 AM

PLEEze do this - and not just paper clips. Merger is what I'm talking about. We have too many governmental units with competing needs.

OP  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 11:03 PM

RIP> The graveyard is a welcome suggestion...Get the F out. WE do not need old people.

OP  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 9:57 PM

There are plenty of Long time Oak Parkers who move from a HUGE (high tax) home to a smaller sized (LOWER TAXED) one. I'm not sure why this gentleman couldn't have done the same. If his income was low enough he would qualify for the Sr, Freeze, Exemption and long term exemption. There are things in place to help people like him.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 9:26 PM

HE SAID, "Let's get together for casual forum and a cup of coffee." SHE SAID, "That sounds like a real progressive thing to do." HE SAID, "Someone call the Wednesday Journal. Those folks just love coffee." SHE SAID, "Should we invite the Oak Leaves too?" HE SAID, "Nah, they don't like coffee." SHE SAID "What about inviting some residents?" HE SAID, "Nah,those people are too opinionated!"

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 9:12 PM

Oink, Tweet, Madison!

epic lulz  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 8:53 PM

I am glad that Mr. Pope is FINALLY of the notion that he needs to think like a tax payer, but how about he thinks like a tax payer of normal means, and instead of cutting the health care of Village workers, consider dissolving that developer slush fund known as the TIF? I certainly hope these heretics have finally found religion, but given the track record of the VMA, I fully expect their concerns to quickly realign with those of the rich and powerful in the community.

epic lulz  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 8:52 PM

What a nice little show they put on. If Ray Johnson was really moved by the plight of his elderly constituent having to move out of OP because of the high taxes, he would have repeated that story during the campaign and taken a stand against the D97 referendum. He could have also stood up for those of us who have been ridiculed by the YES side when we relayed stories about how the tax burden is forcing people out of OP. Why are we only hearing about this now? (cont...)

tjk from Oak Park  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 3:48 PM

Pretty soon, budgets will have to be submitted for the second installment of 2010 property taxes. Will D200 take less because they have 128% of yearly expenditures in reserve? No. Will the VMA lower the village's assessment on us? Guess. Ray Johson cares as much about that old guy as we all care about what's in his coffee. I've accepted the high taxes, you won the election...just provide efficient services and stop pretending to care about high taxes. Where have you been the last 5 years?

JennyWren from Oak Park  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 3:40 PM

I was appalled by the flippancy of the "officials needed to start thinking more like taxpayers".It was like John Hubbuch's remark a few weeks ago about the D97 levy being equal to some luxury items he spends his money on.Do the trustees really think we are ALL so rich that $1,000 or more in tax raises every year has no impact on their quality of life?That many have given up all discretionary spending for wasted money like the $1M PeopleSoft debacle. Can we borrow Toni Preckwinkle for a while?

DeJordy  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 12:14 PM

Village could cut its take by half and we would barely notice. Schools, unions, and their pensions are choking us. They swoop in on easy elections and lie about their tax increases. Taxpayers have no chance.

kathleen from OP  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 11:39 AM

The trustees can begin by voting down the Comcast project if they are actually serious. This project does nothing to enhance tax revenue but is likely to further burden OP taxpayers. It does nothing to enhance or entice new business along Madison. Trustees, show us you mean business by saying NO on this.

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 11:32 AM

Want an easy place to start? Watch and see if OPRF will choose to NOT take the excess from the RF TIF? $80M-plus surplus and, guaranteed, they'll take EVERY PENNY from the TIF. They don't need it and it would send a tremendous message regarding that they "get it." But, oink, oink, they'll state that "it's part of our overall plan" and oink, oink, keep raising prop taxes to the max - rather than even try to control spending. Talk is cheap, but gluttony is FUN!!!

Ted Geisel  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 11:09 AM

I like the pig analogy but this reminds me more like the Little Red Hen story. We the taxpayers who are willing to work and contribute our fair share as Little Red Hen. This story ends differently, however, with all the farm animals devouring our bread.

Robert from Oak Park  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 10:13 AM

The joke is on us! District 97 strategically placed on the ballot when the lowest turnout would be. Smart marketing. Their signs and buttons were attractive. $13,900 per year per student was not enough to educate. How about 15k. Sadly, when our kids are out of school, there isn't much choice but to move. Cry me a river and we can float out of Oak Park.

tjk from Oak Park  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 9:40 AM

But he looks SO genuninely concerned in that picture. He's even taking notes!

Ken Wiese  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 9:25 AM

Looking at an article about lowering taxes... Lead story is re-doing Madison to two lanes. $$$$$ If you want to live in Mayberry, move to Mayberry. Stop taking out streets and putting them back after you find out the hard way what a stupid idea that was!

Tom Scharre  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 7:07 AM

@OP. Perhaps not exactly how I would have put it, but I oink in unison.

OP  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 6:59 AM

We are all little pigs .. so true. No one can step back and say lets FREEZE PLAY and take a look at where we stand. ....The old man is getting kicked out of his home to an earlier death. Nothing to see here folks..... Look at your stack of pancakes..... Our elected officials are an accurate reflection of ourselves. We are myopic pigs. All current public spending streams should be frozen. But, but, but, Tut,tut,tut, AINT GONNA HAPPEN...Oink, Oink

So the pigs at the trough got together.... from Oak Park  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 4:54 AM

...and all decided that they're eating too much. But, everyone thinks the other guy is eating more. So they each continue to eat as much as they can with no real incentive to eat less. Why don't we help them out and demand a property tax decrease which will force them to work together? Oh, because we won't even vote down a moderate tax increase because one of the pigs squealed "its for the kids." Oak Parkers are part of the problem here...no change happens until we demand it.

What a joke! from Oak Park  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 9:51 PM

I just love everyone that was just elected again coming out so concerned about the tax burden in this village! Traczyk saying the village needs to find bigger ticket items to reduce! Pope saying they need to think like taxpayers now! You guys are a joke! Politics as usual!

Curious George from Oak Park  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 8:59 PM

Adam Salzman-You will look at ALL the issues through a fiscal prism?Are you up for this task?You are going to question a pet project?You will question how a 51 unit supportive housing development compares fiscally to a mixed development?Will you question if 51 low-income residents have more discretionary income to spend in our village then a mix of income levels?How will the Comcast project, which has 5000 sq ft of retail, attract top level retailers, with 9 dedicated parking spots. Good luck!

MichaelO from Oak Park  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 8:18 PM

I say we Cap village hall.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 7:57 PM

I worked for GM for 35 years. Everything was a pig fight at the trough. Mgmt blamed union, union blamed mgmt while car sales fell. The only thing they agreed on was keeping the line going and big paychecks coming. It went on for decades and ended in a total burnout-bankuptcy. Who was really to blame? Who cares they went down the sewer together. Can the same thing happen to a village? Sure it can. Simply ask yourself is the village growing or sliding? If we don't choice growing,......

Talk is Cheap from Oak Park  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 5:02 PM

Thanks Adam Salzman for your comment (assuming that it's the real Adam Salzman). I voted for you (and only you) because you were the only one talking "fiscal responsibility"...so I'm glad you're there. You have mine and (clearly) many others' support. We need you to go to bat for us...show us that you're serious about this with your ACTIONS.

tjk from Oak Park  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 3:15 PM

@OP - I'm sure the village has some work to do, but where would you place the blame? 75% of our property taxes go to the schools. Their budgets consist primarily of salaries (guaranteed raises) and benefits (pensions) of public sector employees. Saying you can reduce taxes without being tough with the unions is like the Feds trying to trick the ignorant that cutting $36B on a $1 trillion budget, while ignoring social security, defense, and medicare is going to help reduce the deficit. nonsense.

OP Resident  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 2:02 PM

David Pope & Scott Walker are cut from the same cloth. Both want to blame budget woes on public sector employees. Forget about offical waste and mismanagement; they go after low-level staff. Of course, there's not a peep from Pope about the lucrative no-bid contracts he likes to hand out. He'll say nothing in regards to the Board's need to hire an expensive consultant before the trustees will make a move. Pope didn't even try to negotiate a better rate for outside legal counsel. Who's he kidding

John  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 1:30 PM

Im taxed out, lived here all my life, same with my family. It won't change.

Adam Salzman from Oak Park  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 1:22 PM

Those saying "Talk is cheap" are right. OPers want action. Rather than a "tax burden," it makes more sense to say "tax saturation." We're at a tipping point. We risk taxing many residents out of town. As Trustees, this must be our 1st priority. On the Board, I'll view every issue through this prism. I urge the many engaged WJ readers and commenters who are concerned about this to join the effort and help advocate that our leaders in ALL taxing bodies change the way we work together. We need you.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 12:54 PM

Paul, I'm game for a Village Hall Cry-In!

Brian Lantz  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 12:41 PM

I agree with John, this is certainly long overdue. The current Village Board made several statements during Mr. Pope's administration regarding intergovernmental cooperation. But I don't recall any results in terms of lowering taxes. I'd really like to see some study by the Village on absorbing the Township services, as Evanston did successfully. Intergovernmental agreements between school districts would be a fundamental reform area.

Bridgett Baron from Oak Park  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 12:33 PM

Um...why didn't this "summit" happen before the elections, and before the D97 referendum was on the table? Oh, that's right, because this is politics. Lame.

paul  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 11:44 AM

Didn't Oak Park just pass a referendum to tax & spend more? Sounds like Johnson's coming too late to the party. But hell, if tears are what it takes to lower taxes, let's have a cry-in in Village Hall. I bet a lot more than just one old man would show up.

tjk from oak park  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 10:29 AM

So it's his third term and he's just now getting it because some elderly gentlemen almost cried in front of him? What was he doing his first two terms? After rereading this article, it's actually pretty funny.

Mary Ellen Eads from Oak Park  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 9:13 AM

Those of us who believe that property taxes here are excessive must applaud any efforts to reduce local government expenses. However, I agree to some extent with Talk is Cheap. These are politically popular stances which often fail in implementation. Perhaps there could be a permanent agenda item for each village board meeting regarding the status of efforts to reduce the property tax burden in Oak Park. This is particularly necessary since it appears that, state and federal $$ may shrink.

Peter from Oak Park  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 6:59 AM

I've lived here less than a year and want to move due to the taxes. A 3.8% hike during this economy indicates bad management. A cursory look at the way this village functions confirms it.

Talk is Cheap from Oak Park  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 5:11 AM

I appreciate the spirit in which this article was intended, and I welcome collaboration between taxing bodies that could potentially prevent future property tax increases. That said, Traczyk drove the most recent tax hike in Oak Park and Johnson supported it. So, it's lovely rhetoric....when exactly will we actually be seeing any action that resembles concern for the taxpayer?

tjk from Oak Park  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 12:27 AM

I'll bet my property taxes that nothing gets done and our taxes continue to increase at the same rate. I love Oak Park, but it never met a dollar it didn't want to spend.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 12:17 AM

Congratulations to all, This is a loooong overdue initiative.

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