I write regarding the Jan. 3 article in your newspaper titled, “OPRF’s ’06 levy will mean higher tax bills next year.” In response to the quoted comments of Mr. [Barry] Greenwald that “we have extremely creative people around here,” and those of Mr. [John] Rigas that “we only have a right to property taxes,” there is nothing “creative” about finding a loophole to arbitrarily “extend” a public referendum beyond its intended terms and the “right” to property taxes does not stretch to unilaterally grabbing at these funds without the consent of those providing them.

Preventing this type of abuse by local authorities is one of the rationales for the law creating tax caps and requiring these referendums in the first place. Granted, there are many reasons for the sharp increase in property taxes, and the levy may only play a limited role in these. Nonetheless, this maneuver created a considerable measure of hostility within the community.

I would have expected the District 200 board to demonstrate a little more contriteness given these circumstances. Reading the comments quoted in this article, I am left with the distinct impression that the board, if not smug that it was able to requisition this extra funding without any public participation on the part of the larger community it was elected to serve, then it appears at least to consider irrelevant the notion that such participation is an essential element of this process.

If true, it would certainly behoove members of the board to remind themselves that such an attitude has led to the downfall of many an elected official.

Warren R. Garlick
River Forest

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