Township assessor to co-host Anan forum

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

The fourth installment of Village President Anan Abu-Taleb's public forums is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Oak Park Public Library at 2 p.m.

The forums, held roughly every other month since Abu-Taleb's election as Oak Park village president last year, will feature Oak Park Township Assessor Ali El Saffar.

Abu-Taleb said he chose El Saffar as his co-host because property values are assessed this year, and the forum will give residents an opportunity to discuss their bills and concerns.

"It could give people the opportunity to learn more about how to appeal their taxes and reduce their bill," Abu-Taleb said in a telephone interview. "I'm concerned about how much people are paying on their taxes."

He said the forum would not be limited to the topic of taxes.

"My intention with these forums is to hear the voice of the people and offer them an expert on a certain issue that could help them improve their quality of life," he said.


Reader Comments

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Mimi Jordan from Oak Park  

Posted: February 21st, 2014 2:09 PM

These forums have been a great way to allow residents to talk directly and informally with their elected representatives. This one has the added bonus of allowing us to "ask the expert" on property taxes.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 20th, 2014 11:28 AM

Muntz - your comments re Illinois having too many government entities are on the mark. I think it is possible to reduce the size of government but the effort needs to come from the top. For instance; our schools are under the jurisdiction of the state board of education. It is not a Oak Park entity. OP has no authority to merge school districts. I beat the same drum as you when it comes to creating smaller government but it will take a radical political change to accomplish it. OPV-OPT is a drop in the bucket when it comes to saving money by consolidating governments. Keep plugging, you are on the right track.


Posted: February 20th, 2014 9:36 AM

Muntz, you make the assumption that less government units equals better government. Which isn't necessarily so. It's also not true that more government units is a problem, per se. The key in your post is the word "logical." Logical change is probably much smaller steps than a large change all at once. Previous comments are correct, the taxing bodies are already trying to work together.


Posted: February 19th, 2014 10:45 PM

Sorry, was just identifying one logical way to reduce the # of units of local government in IL, the state with my far the most units of govt in the country...50% more than CA and 33% more than TX. Someone explain how THAT makes sense! But apparently logical change is not possible here. Scientists, doctors, mathematicians deal with change every day, but our precious local govts cannot. Perhaps we can merge the Township with Men's Wearhouse instead. They're dying to merge with someone.

John Murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: February 19th, 2014 4:46 PM

Muntz - I have been through a few mergers in business and public sector. Some worked, some didn't but what happened most frequently no merger. Not only is the process complicated and the restructure of people complex, many attempts have minimal fiscal savings. If you can't have a big savings, it is hard to justify the risks associated with merger. I'm with Bridget, IGOV is studying consolidations. Let's hear what they learn first. There is no rush for OPV-OPT right now.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: February 19th, 2014 3:49 PM

muntz, I think JBM makes a point regarding how each entity currently runs, and why merging those two particular taxing bodies makes very little sense at the moment. In addition, all OP taxing bodies are working together already, via the IGOV committee, seeing what services/personnel they can share with each other and other towns. Lastly, it's important to know what each taxing body does, in detail, before thinking that another taxing body can swallow them up.


Posted: February 19th, 2014 1:30 PM

Why stop there? I think the Township is just low-hanging fruit. You could apply the same logic and want to merge the school districts. Merge the park district into the village. Maybe even the library. Or, perhaps, we have separate taxing bodies with specific roles for a reason? Let's stick with cooperation and ditch the radical ideas about dissolution.


Posted: February 19th, 2014 12:59 PM

No one is knocking the services offered by the township. I worked with Ali once as well and found him very helpful and accessible. I am merely asking why we need a level of govt with roles already offered by the village (Accounting, HR, IT). I would even venture the Township Supervisor and Manager roles could be replaced by village mgrs. Can't the Township Assessor report under Village Finance? Some of you folks are sold on the OP Township wrapper. I'm suggesting the wrapper is not needed.

Carol from Oak Park  

Posted: February 19th, 2014 12:30 PM

I'm a senior. I eat lunch at the OP Township lunch program and since I no longer have a car, I sometimes take the OP Township bus to appointments, etc. Also, Ali has been very helpful assisting me with a tax appeal for the condo building I live in. I really appreciate having the OP Township available for me and other senior citizens. The Township rocks!


Posted: February 18th, 2014 3:33 PM

not having used the township for services is your fault. we've found them to be incredibly helpful and knowledgeable when it comes to property taxes and, when needed, appealing them.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 18th, 2014 2:02 PM

It would not be a surprise if someday Oak Park Village and Oak Park Township was merged but there are a lot of complex issues to address led by the fact that Oak Park Township also provides services to River Forest. Consolidating the Village and Township is not a high priority for the village and probably not a priority at all for the township. The township is a lean mean operation. The village has a long way to go to be comparative.


Posted: February 18th, 2014 1:42 PM

I've used the township for aide in property tax issues. Found it to be a very good resource and extremely helpful.


Posted: February 18th, 2014 12:13 PM

What does OP gain from the township setup? It's not like we've consolidated a small groups of towns to save $ on these services across a region. There is only one town in the township - Oak Park. Can't we roll-up the township services into the village? I'm sure there are some efficiencies to be gained (facilities, admin, etc)

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2014 11:43 AM

Joe, do you think there is a redundancy of services that both the Township and the Village provide? If so, what are they?


Posted: February 18th, 2014 10:46 AM

The township mainly deals with senior and youth issues, Joe. Are you a teen or elderly? Perhaps that's why you haven't had much contact. Cost isn't everything. It's also about quality of service. Do you really think the village--who already can't handle what we ask of it--should be given this extra burden? Not when another taxing body is already doing a capable job.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: February 18th, 2014 10:29 AM

the oak park township is so essential that I've made a total of zero visits and used none of their services in the last 10 years... If the township can perform this function cheaper than the village, then keep them. If it's cheaper for the village to perform this function there is no reason for the township to exist.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2014 9:39 AM

@OK, Do you know what the Oak Park Township even does? And if you look at your property tax bill (if you are an Oak Park resident) it is only about 2% of the bill. Maybe come on Saturday and learn from the assessor, who is knows a thing or two about property taxes?


Posted: February 18th, 2014 7:43 AM

@Ok Let's let the misguided attitudes of our western neighbor impact our essential services. Great idea.


Posted: February 17th, 2014 8:36 PM

Oak Park Township should dissolve into the Village like our neighbors in River Forest. The Township is unnecessary

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