Oak Park ahead of the pack - on taxes

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Today's online Chicago Tribune (June 15) has a comparison of overall tax rates for Chicago suburbs. I invite people to take a look. Just another area where Oak Park's a real leader.

Gary Schwab
Oak Park

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OP Resident  

Posted: June 26th, 2011 10:43 AM

Every time the school districts want to raise teacher and admin salaries they cite salaries paid by other "comparable" communities. On the surface it sounds like a reasonable arguement. So why don't we hear the same kinds of compariason from our elected leaders when they are trying to adjust tax rates? Seems to me that the desire to match similar communities should be leading to a strong movement to lower taxes, not continue to raise them.

The Truth Hurts  

Posted: June 24th, 2011 10:21 AM

Good or smart. Would you prefer Oak Park pick developers that move forward and file bankruptcy becasue they cant sell the building? I would much rather see development NOT moving forward until the economy can support such development.

Jon Donohue  

Posted: June 24th, 2011 7:53 AM

This is probably one reason why Oak Park has such high taxes...http://triblocal.com/oak-park-river-forest/2011/06/22/lake-and-forest-project-eyes-switch-to-rental-units/..they cannot seem to pick good partners.

Another OP resident from Oak Park  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 6:06 PM

Enuf is Enuf is my very favorite contributor to these comment boards. There is value in her (his?) words always backed up by facts and explanations that are clear. I wish more of the Wednesday Journal's stories and reports were full of this kind of real information.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 5:51 PM

As Evanston's chart shows, it's the "city" (Village) component that seems high. Note also that Evanston is hotly debating whether to provide a $40,000 incentive to a developer at Main and Chicago, for a site that was cleared and left vacant. In Oak Park, a $40,000 subsidy generally won't even cover a sole-source consulting contract. In terms of subsidies, we think big.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 5:48 PM

Tweaking? OP's debt/revenue ratio of 270% is 2.4 times the average (112%) of other government agencies in Cook County. The report was the basis for today's Chicago Tribune editorial, "You owe. You owe", which stated; "The Treasurer's concern is that many local officials slyly expect to retire their debt burdens by raising property taxes even further." The Treasurer next intends to add the projected costs of gov't. retirement benefits other than pensions - chief among them retiree health care.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 5:42 PM

Adele - The article was actually in the "Niles Patch" but was on the Tribune web site. The URL is here: http://niles.patch.com/articles/evanston-no-were-not-highest-in-taxes-fees

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 4:52 PM

@ Enuf: Water and Sewer revenues are used as a source for debt obligations, but yet are not included in the $49.7M in revenues referenced. I think this new report and the definitions need some tweaking.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 4:42 PM

@RayJohnson: the Treasurer correctly reports OP's $49.7M Gross Operating Budget, as provided by the 2010 Operating Budget. Your $112M amount is the unified budget amount, which includes both the operating and capital budget. Whatever the size of a OP's liabilities, what matters most is how they compare to the revenues available to service them, such as total operating budget liabilities/total operating budget revenues, direct long-term debt/population, and debt service/total revenues.

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 1:27 PM

@ enuf: The Treasurer report defines gross operating revenue as general fund revenue only; totaling $49.7M. However, total revenues for the VOP from all funds totals $112M. This may be a better measure for debt/revenue ratios. As this is a new Treasurer report, it appears not all communities reported the line items within the defined categories correctly.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 12:52 PM

Cook County Treasurer reported current Village of Oak Park debts & liabilities at $134M, or 2.7 times its annual revenue. Add unfunded pensions at $96M. For D200/97school districts and park district, add another $131M in debts & liabilities and $11M in unfunded pensions. This leaves a sum total of $372M in debts, liabilities and unfunded pensions, or $7,148 per resident ($16,618 per household) above current property taxes. (source: http://cookcountytreasurer.com/ddocompliancereports.aspx)

Les from OP  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 12:03 PM

Park District candidates pledged to decrease its levy by 50%. Schwab wouldn;t vote for them. Wouldn't support Cut the Taxes' efforts in any way.

jjwalsh from woodale  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 10:45 AM

reduce spending is what oak park should be doing in any little way

Jon Donohue  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 8:16 AM

Oak Park property taxes are contributing to our declining property values. Not to mention is it also decreasing the diversity that Oak Park so prides itself on. In fact, this was reported in today's paper. http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/06-21-2011/Is_Oak_Park_really_that_affordable_for_everyone?

Adele from OP  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 7:55 AM

Gary, can you provide the URL or the link so we can view the article and thereby share in the joy of being number 1?

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