I read the article in this week’s Wednesday Journal [Confused about tax bills? HomeFront, Aug. 9] by Mr. Ali ElSaffar, our township assessor, answering common questions concerning the unprecedented increases in property taxes many residents are experiencing these past years. I wonder if Mr. ElSaffar would care to comment on a statement he made, published last year in the “Oak Park Township Guide to the 2005 Reassessment.”
In his opening statement he said, “The new law, commonly know as the Seven Percent Assessment Cap, will phase in assessment increases at a rate of seven percent per year over a three-year period; most assessment increases above 22.5 percent will be completely exempt from taxation.”
Now, I understand that his statement says, “most” and not, “all,” but when you use words like “most” and “completely exempt,” you are conveying a level of protection that “most” people would expect to benefit from.
I beg to differ with Mr. ElSaffar’s statement. “Most” taxpayers in this village have gotten beat up over this year’s reassessment increase. That is because “most” of the homes in Oak Park exceed the $20,000 limitation of the exemption. That means “most” of the homes for which the assessment increase reached well above the 40 percent mark have, and will in future years, experience an inordinate increase in their property tax bills.
Add to this misinformation, the outright greed of District 200, the huge number of successful assessment appeals granted to commercial properties in recent years, and a 7-percent limit, (that is not a limit at all), and you have the present situation where many residents can no longer live in the community they grew up in.
My wife and I have lived in Oak Park for over 30 years. We have always thought we would stay here for the rest of our lives. In the past few weeks, however, we have been talking about the possibility that out of necessity, we may have to leave. That’s sad.