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How have property tax levels in Oak Park impacted you?

The Taxing Body Efficiency Task Force is seeking public input as it develops recommendations to identify cost efficiencies in the public services provided by the local government bodies that rely on Oak Park property taxes as a major source of funding. Public comments are being sought on the following topic through May 13, 2018:

How have property tax levels in Oak Park impacted you?

Comments are monitored and will not appear immediately.



Submitted by J Jeffries on

The excessively high property tax in Oak Park has impacted our family in three ways:
1. Reduced our discretionary income, so we spend less on dining, shopping and entertaining in Oak Park (and everywhere else)
2. Eliminated our ability to improve our home in even basic ways, like replacing aged windows or painting the exterior. 4. Reduced our ability to save money for our kids' college education and our retirement.
Less quantifiable but just as important is the stress we feel as we juggle expenses and try to plan for the future.

Submitted by Lisa Shea on

When we first moved to Oak Park we rented for a few years. We knew property taxes were high but decided to buy a home in this community we love so much! We've lived in places where taxes are much, much lower. That made sense since there were few community offerings (no library, no park district), streets were not kept up and the schools were meh. So, we felt "you get what you pay for." HOWEVER, watching our taxes go up every year we've lived here at a pace that is absolutely not sustainable we've already started talking about how we'll have to move once our child is done with the school system. In the past two years I've personally said goodbye to awesome friends who's children have gone off to college and they've had to make the hard decision to leave the village. We love our community, love our home but already see that it won't be our forever home. We absolutely won't be able to justify the costs.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I rented in Oak Park for several years and am a local Realtor. However, when it came time to buy my own home, I was forced out of town because I could not afford the property taxes on top of a big mortgage payment. I went next door to Elmwood Park and have a lovely, more affordable home but do have Oak Park “envy” and want to move back someday, if I can ever afford to do so.

Submitted by Margaret Nekrosius on

The high rate of property taxes has made me re-think the possibility of having a third child. I don't have a fancy house, but I have property taxes for a fancy house. I have two children and I would love a third but paying over 1000 a month just in taxes makes a third seem impossible. This is a heartbreaking choice between my childhood home I love and never want to leave and growing my family. The rates of property tax increases just cannot continue this way or we will all be forced to leave.

Submitted by Maura O'Hara on

Our taxes have more than doubled in the 18 years we've been in our home. Based on the discussions at D97, D200, and the Village Board, plus the State's budget disaster, I expect the growth rate to accelerate. For taxpayers who are fully utilizing the school system, the cost to stay in Oak Park might make sense. For a family like mine, with no children in the schools, staying seems like throwing money out the window.

My husband and I plan to move to a lower property tax location. The only question is whether we stay in Illinois.

Submitted by Anne Wakely on

My house is valued at the same price I paid for it 13 years ago, but my taxes have doubled. Me rising taxes have impacted my ability to make basic home improvements that will help me positively impact the value of my home.

Submitted by Tanya Fisher on

As a result of property tax levels and increases, we are defering maintenance and upgrades to our home and property. With our home being over 100 years old, we are especially fearful of emergent repairs that may arise and wish we had resources to improve our property.

Submitted by Mary Anderson on

The impacts to my family are all positive. We have an amazing school system for our child, wonderful Library and a great Park District.

My family looks at the taxes as an investment in the quality of life that we seek for ourselves and our community.

We appreciate the services and quality from all of the government entities.

Submitted by Adam Yaws on

While we love the community of Oak Park, I find the number of government services and property taxes onerous. This significantly limits real estate value growth as well as limits equity in the village due to affordability concerns. My mortgage payment is $2100/month. My property taxes are $1700/month on a $600K house. Fortunately Berrios is not long for the job so the expectation is that the Cook County Assessor will be more efficient and transparent along with Oak Park. The fact that in 2018, we don't know what the second half of our property tax bill will be boggles the mind.

Submitted by J Cheung on

The high property tax levels here make renting more attractive, and even right now as we’re considering buying - there are certain types of properties in OP that we refuse to consider because of the ridiculous tax burden. It skews financial decisions made by residents here.

Submitted by Deborah Frantisak on

Our taxes were at a level we considered tolerable when we bought our home in 2013. Since then, our taxes have increased more than $1000 every year. We are now at a rate that would then have made us choose a different house or a different town. We do love OP, our neighbors, and the schools, but the school ratings on, which is linked to real estate sites such as trulia and zillow, do not paint a particularly rosy picture of Oak Park schools, despite what we spend on them. There are good schools in other towns too.
We are now concerned somewhat about our real estate investment here. I think this can be turned around, but we need to organize/prioritize our values(which are the real draw in Oak Park), and spend towards them efficiently. The bottom line is, the property tax burden is now at or above the maximum people can handle. That is not sustainable if we want a diverse community.

Submitted by Kelly DeLoriea on

We see value in our taxes because we recognize the value of gorgeous parks; neighborhood, walkable schools; streets that are tree-lined, plowed, and maintained; and benefits like strong schools, public pools, and resources to strengthen our community.

Submitted by Eric Davis on

Property taxes are artificially high because the State is not doing its job; it's supposed to pay for half of our schools and it doesn't, with shell games and the lottery. Dawn Netsch was right 24 years ago with her "tax swap" (property taxes down, sales and income taxes up, revenue-neutral). That said - I love Oak Park! Part of it is the reality that you get what you pay for. We have the best schools for miles in any direction - to get this good you'd have to pay a lot more in private school tuition. Our police force is both strong and caring. We have exceptional social services - really a bargain - for seniors, at-risk kids, and those with mental health challenges. Our parks and libraries go hand in hand to make a very high quality of life and a strong sense of community. We ought to fund government differently, in a way that doesn't disadvantage seniors and empty nesters (the swap), but I'm proud of Oak Park, what we are as a community, and all we have to offer. Sure we can improve. I mean, if you absolutely want to cut property taxes, follow the real money - we need one school district, not three - but other than that, with what we have as a community, it needs a scalpel, not a meat cleaver.

Submitted by Anonymous on

“to get this good you'd have to pay a lot more in private school tuition.“

St Giles tuition is 1/4 of what district 97 spends per student.

Submitted by Natalie on

They have impacted us to the point where we will no longer invest ourselves in Oak Park. We have no children, and property taxes have risen beyond the point where it makes sense for a childless couple to continue to live here.

Submitted by Heather Douglas on

We bought our house in 2014 with the intention of staying in Oak Park for the long haul. It was a perfect location-- about a block from both the elementary school and the middle school -- with the large backyard that we couldn't get in the city. At the time, we expected our property taxes to be around $17,000, and appealed to put them in line with what we paid for the house ($405,000 market price/tax assessment = $13,600). It was a lot, but it was doable, and what we expected. 4 years later, we're scared our property taxes are going to be above $20,000 (after the new assessment and referendum). With all the talk of new, big ticket projects such as a new recreation center, or a new olympic sized pool, the tax burden is only going to get worse. When my family looks at our budget we ask, would we rather pay $20,000 to stay in Oak Park, or put that money towards our kids' college funds? What about putting it towards our retirement plans? It's becoming a difficult decision.

Submitted by Anonymous on

We bought our first (and only) home here 17 years ago before we got married and started a family. After proximity to the city where we worked, the reason we moved here and stay here is because of Oak Park's commitment to providing services for its residents. The library is fantastic, the parks are fabulous, the police respond quickly, and there is a fundamental dedication to children - from early childhood through elementary school and until they're out of high school. Plus, my neighbors don't look like me and I like that. We share experiences now but we come from different backgrounds. I can walk to get anything I need and I live on the far end of the rectangle that's Oak Park. The 100 year old trees on our block were quickly replaced with new ones. My alley is getting paved and the Village quickly fixed an issue in front of our house. That didn't happen in the city. I am all for paying taxes to get services; I have no problem with that. I would like to see housing stock remain affordable for first-time and lower-income home buyers and renters. I've seen many, many modest homes get scooped up by contractors and flipped for 2 or 3 times what they paid - this is driving local taxes and property values up and it's a serious issue for affordability.

Submitted by Robin Basney on

We lived in OP Mann school area for 9 years. Our daughter was struggling with reading--the school made cuts to the reading specialists and also cut summer school for 3-8th. We paid the non resident rate to go to Elmwood Park summer school and paid for a tutor. So, we just recently moved. The taxes were no longer worth it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

They have been so high and only increasing that they are impacting funds that should go for my kids’ activities. Very disappointing

Submitted by Michelle Talbot on

I am a divorced mother of two. When I lived in the home with my husband I would take on extra jobs to help pay for taxes, but after the divorce it became almost impossible to keep up. All I wanted was to keep my young boys (3 & 5) in their home that they felt so comfortable in this time of disruption. Some years I had to cash out of my 401k and take on credit card debt just to cover taxes. It made me feel like Oak Park did not want people like me, divorced, single moms trying to give their children some stability & consistency. Somehow I have managed, but the high cost of owning a home in Oak Park is increasingly not possible for people like me, which makes me wonder, where is the so-called “diversity” Oak Park is so proud of when taxes force us out?

Submitted by Karen Baldwin on

We intentionally bought a small house so we could stay well beyond our child's schooling years. I am a life-long Oak Parker with ALL family still in town.

For the first time ever, I am considering moving because my 3 bedroom 1.5 bathroom home (under 2000 square feet) has taxes nearing $19k. I have neighbors who have sold larger homes (4 bedrooms/3 baths), more than once since I have lived here, and whose taxes are less. I have lived here 17 years. My taxes should not be so high for a small home south of the highway!!!!!!

I don't to leave my family and the neighborhood I obviously love, but $20,0000 is crazy for 2 people with no children in schools who want to retire here. I am not nearing retirement yet, but have just re-entered the work force full time and do not make enough to support a $20,000 tax bill. We continue to dwell on whether or not we need to leave Oak Park and my family....

Very sad. I never thought I would leave

Submitted by Sean Wylie on

We have had a delay basic home maintenance in order to keep up with the most recent dramatic increase. Our rate went up 27% in one year. Many hours have been spent unsuccessfully applying for multiple appeals to try to communicate how unmanageable such a huge year over year increase can be.

Submitted by Thomas Cavenagh on

I assume many others have identified the following consequences of our current well above the national average property taxes. I do so again, to be sure this body is well aware that the negative effects of taxation are widely and deeply felt by Oak Park residents.

1. Having obtained a competitive market analysis of our property as we contemplate departing for more tax friendly climes, we see as others have, stunted appreciation and/or negative property value movement. In competitive markets, outlier taxes will push buyers elsewhere and diminish property values. Ironically, as property values go down, property taxes seem never to follow suit.
2. Elderly couples on fixed incomes are leaving our block and neighborhood because the senior exemption is meaningless in relation to the total tax burden they face. This is a terrible thing. We don't benefit from much longer residencies, we lose the wisdom of age and we treat those who have paid property taxes for decades as insignificant.
3. The assessment system is so badly broken that very comparable properties, some nearly next door to one another, pay radically different tax bills. This inequity, which is not addressed effectively through the appeal process, produces ill-will.

We are over taxing and over spending in ways that driving residents out and making those who stay resentful. The system is broken and very much needs repair.

Submitted by Carolyn Cullen on

Was the publicized? I see there are only 3 days left to comment and none posted. Wouldn't more notice help you get input?

The taxes on our humble 3 bdr 99yo bungalow were $5k when we moved here in 2006. They just topped $13K and show no sign of stopping. Our household income certainly hasn't more than doubled also, and in fact has barely increased enough to cover the increase, cutting into other expenses. We had hoped to live in OP indefinitely but are now wondering if our many friends who will move to FP or Berwyn when their kids are out of OPRF aren't on the right track. Sad to say...

Submitted by Anonymous on

We have only lived here a few years and have already seen several increases in our taxes. While we do not wish to leave our community, we determined after the recent D97 increase that another such move to significantly raise our taxes again in the next couple years will force us to put our house on the market and leave OP.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The increase in taxes has definitely affected our household. We have only lived in Oak Park for a few years and our taxes have increased thousands of dollars. Thousands, not hundreds. It makes it nearly impossible to plan a budget when a tax bill comes and and the escrow difference needs to be resolved. Our property tax bill will soon be higher than the principle payment on our home.

After studying information that the Village has provided, wedo not understand why taxpayers are asked to continue to pay more when it appears that spending reduction or changes in TIFs have not been examined enough. The Village has a defense that , “...this program is just a small amount of tax dollars”. When all those small amounts are added up, it is quite a lot of money.

One of the most frustrating and disgusting moves we have seen in our time here is asking for a referendum, which passed and increased our tax burden, then saying, whoops- we actually don’t need that money but we can’t give you a refund because it would cost too much. We thought it had to be a joke, but unfortunately it was not. If I make a mistake at work, I am expected to fix it and I do not get paid more for it. I have to resolve the situation on my normal salary. And on top of that, there is talk of needing even more money.

It is not hyperbole that we are thinking of leaving Oak Park because of the tax burden on our household. We moved here because we heard of the great schools but we are not sure that will be enough to keep us here. If our taxes have increased so much in a short time period, we are concerned what will happen over the next 10-20 years.

Thank you for asking for input from the residents.

Submitted by Barbara Purington on

Considering selling house and relocating. It will be a tear down, no doubt. Never thought we'd sell it. Tax bill nearing $10,000 exceeding mortgage payments in a few yrs. time, even with appeals. One story, house is 880 sq. ft., 106 yr old two-bedroom, charming but crumbling bungalow.

Submitted by Barbara Purington on

Considering selling house and relocating. It will be a tear down, no doubt. Never thought we'd sell it. Tax bill nearing $10,000 exceeding mortgage payments in a few yrs. time, even with appeals. One story, house is 880 sq. ft., 106 yr old two-bedroom, charming but crumbling bungalow.

Submitted by Lorne Frank on

After living in Oak Park for the past 24 years, my wife, Marcia, and I will be moving out of the village this summer. Our 2017 tax bill will be shy of $17,000, and in a few years it Will most certainly be $20,000+. It simply no longer makes sense for us to pay that amount since our kids are grown, and we eye retirement in 10 years. We always envisioned our current home full of grandkids; but sadly it won't be this house, and it won't be Oak Park.

Submitted by Anonymous Busin... on

As an Oak Park business owner, I can say that the high rate of taxes we pay as part of our monthly rent has negatively impacted our ability to operate a small business in the Village. It severely limits our ability to invest in improvements to our business, buying new equipment, hiring additional employees, and expansion/growth. We are researching new locations for expansion as we are outgrowing our current location, and starting to look at locations outside Oak Park where taxes are significantly lower. The tax portion of our lease each month is nearly $800 ... quite substantial when you are trying to run a small business in the Village! Our unit is just over 800 square feet, near the downtown district.

Submitted by Maria Meachum on

After 21 years in Oak Park we are seriously considering moving in the next year or two because the taxes are very high and now we wont receive tax credit for all of them it is no longer justifiable.

Submitted by Heather Cianciolo on

We moved to Oak Park from Forest Park four years ago. We were aware the taxes were higher, but the difference is significant. We are not anti-tax, and realize that we do receive direct services via the school district, the recycling/composting, the libraries, the park district, the police force, and so forth. We appreciate those and are willing to pay to support them. However, it seems like that tax burder falls disproportionately on homeowners when we have skyrocketing development. I don't foresee our burden being reduced as these Shiny New Buildings go in no matter what the promises. It means that we may have to reconsider whether we will stay here for the long term once the kids graduate from high school, when $20K/year would pay for a significant amount of tuition. The Village needs to control its levy even if it means leaving money on the table. Our village is less affordable and less diverse as a result of the exorbitant taxes.

Submitted by Angela Dugan on

Our taxes have increased by 50% since we bought our home in 2010. Our tax bill (soon to be at $18k for a home we paid $360K for) per month now exceeds our mortgage payment. I love living here, it’s a beautiful, safe, and diverse community. At the rate the cost of living here is increasing, I fear it may turn Oak Park into a community that only wealthy elites can afford to live in.

Submitted by Bob Quinlan on

Hello, Property taxes in OP are of huge concern. As many other families, we moved here mainly for the schools. After being here for 15 years, we have seen our taxes go up. The service that we have experience from the village has been disappointing. We have gotten the letters telling us to paint our garage/house because it does not live up to the standards of the Village, yet the Village allows significant infrastructure issues to go unaddressed. The alley behind our house is old and crumbling, and does not drain any water. Combined with the neighbors re-grading of their backyard causes our backyard to flood regularly when it rains. Our garage door and alley facing side is rotting out from standing water. All of our efforts to get Village attention have resulted in no changes. While we see our taxes continue to rise, combined with lack of attention from the Village means that the value of living in OP is going down. More and more condo buildings are good for the developers, but will overload the school infrastructure, and if the schools suffer, property values will drop, and a dangerous cycle will have begun.

Submitted by JL on

In 2016, we sold a SE OP home, and purchased a North OP home for roughly $150,000 more than the house we sold. While the house and yard are larger, the taxes were more than double, and in the less than two years at this new address, even with appeals, our bill has grown by many thousands of dollars. Our family's roots in OP extend back many generations, but our roots are diminishing as rapidly as the value we are seeing for our tax dollars.

The amount D97 spends compared to the overall rankings and student performance is disappointing at best. D200 and D97 while good schools are no longer top rated schools, yet are near the very top in per student spending.

At least some of the individuals on the boards of the various taxing bodies seem to recognize we are no longer endless reserves of money. We need more of these, specifically on the D97 & D200 as they account for more than half our tax bill. However, we should look at shared services, consolidation of taxing bodies and elimination of redundant or no longer needed services.

Additionally, the idea that a progressive income tax will cure all our property tax ailments is laughable. Neighboring states of IA and MO have progressive rates, but the top rate in MO (6%) begins at $9,072 -- yes, $9,000. In IA, the top rate (8.98%) begins at $70,780. This is lower than Oak Park's median income -- guess we are just swapping one tax for another.

In closing, I don't feel we have officials who are malicious, but perhaps are not focused enough on financial discipline and asking if we are getting the best value for dollars spent. I'm hopeful we can turn things around, but am nervous with the recent tax law changes we may have already reached the inflection point.

Submitted by Roberta Arnold on

I've lived in Oak Park since 1991, have no children in the schools or park programs, and have paid every-increasing taxes over the past 27 years. Nonetheless, my dream was to continue to live here throughout my retirement years. However, taxes are now rising too steeply--the 2017 taxes on my condo were $14,500. I have loved living in Oak Park and have supported the schools, amenities, and Village policies up to now. But I can't live here at these tax levels, nor can I recommend living here to anyone interested in moving to our Village. I sincerely hope this Task Force can change the "spend more" mindset of the taxing bodies.

Submitted by Mindy on

My property tax bill has tripled over the 20 years I've lived in this village. I am seeing all of my friends flee Oak Park as soon as their youngest child graduates from high school. The increasing tax bill has prevented the ability to maintain my home and it now valued at far more than it is actually worth due to the amount of work needed.
I worry about the diversity of this community where it will become a village of well to do families with school age children. Oak Park has become a transient community where one stops in briefly to raise a family and then leaves. One parent families, retirees and those with health issues can no longer afford to live here. It is impossible to think that anyone can afford health insurance and property taxes in this town.
The increasing business development has not reduced the overall tax burden and in fact, growth is increasing the tax burden as the basis of excuse for schools, park district and public services all asking for more money. In the business world, there would be a mandate to create efficiencies that reduce per-capita spending annually in order to create value to shareholders.
As tax payers in this community we should expect the same - a return on investment which simply isn't happening here. Unfortunately, when I can afford the necessary improvements to my home, I will be leaving this village as quickly as possible.

Submitted by Carolina Fenske on

I've lived in Oak Park over forty years. I have enjoyed many benefits from what the property taxes fund. It's been higher, as things go, but there used to always be a cost benefit that leaned toward the benefit. I can no longer say that. The tax burden is so oppressive, we are considering leaving. If things continue, we may no longer even have the luxury of that consideration. We will just have to go. Again, there are so many services that justify a high tax levy, but things are so outrageously skewed. Also, there seems to be a decline in some services. Further, I'm constantly learning of loss of services, threatened loss of services, and constantly being asked to fund the very benefits that I'm used to attributing as my justification for my outrageous taxes. I can't anymore.
So many others have iterated the impact well. My tax escrow is higher than my mortgage payment. I struggle to make much needed improvements. Some I can't take on because it well increase my tax burden. My mother nearly lost her house due to a $28,000 tax bill. We managed to get it sold to a rehab company, but it didn't make sense for her to stay in town. She would be spending all her retirement income on the taxes. I havelost the proximity of my mother, and my kids have lost having their grandmother around to throw the holiday parties on her home, and her being at games, school performances, and just a quick pop over visit. The other set of grandparents are moving now, as well. Getting away from the unjustifiable taxes. My siblings can't afford to live here with their families. Pretty soon, it's going to be only the wealthy here, and that is a shame. Our children won't have other generations around, and that is a shame. We are losing diversity and that is a shame. We are finding projects for others to make boat loads of money and getting very little in return. Definitely not what would make these incentives worth it. We are grateful for this community and more than willing to put up funds to support this great community, from which we get many benefits. We're keeping up our end of the bargain. I don't think the village has.
I'm hopeful things will change before we lose being able to live in the community in which we work. Before we lose our amazing neighbors. Before we lose the diversity of which I have been so proud to be a part. Before this town becomes another manifestation of the class disparity found all over the nation. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Submitted by Brett Patterson on

My wife and I have lived in Oak Park for the last 8 years. We have enjoyed everything about the Village except for the high and ever rising taxes. Like many other people that live here, we have appealed our taxes at every chance we can and have won most times. The Township provides a great service to appeal for free and it is a quick process, much better than the lawyer we hired the first time and had to pay 30% of the savings. Recently, with the passing of more increases to the taxes and many trying to add additional projects, we have decided to leave Oak Park. We have sold our house and will be moving to Naperville. While it is not as close to the city and does not have the walkability that we enjoy in Oak Park, the savings cannot be ignored. I am getting the same size house for 20% less and a tax savings of over $10,000 a year. On top of that, the taxes in Naperville only increase about $200-500 a year, much better than the $900-1,000 in Oak Park. We are sad to leave Oak Park and have enjoyed our time here, but spending as much on my taxes as my mortgage is not acceptable, especially with the condition of the roads and lack of snow removal in the winter. Sadly, we are not the only people leaving town. I have other friends that have moved to other towns and find the people just as friendly, less crime, great schools, bike and walking tails and best of all, lower taxes. Oak Park needs to wake up and realize that they are forcing people to leave this wonderful Village, just because the Village cannot find a way to maintain or lower the costs to live here. Goodbye!

Submitted by matt carmichael on

This strikes me as an odd exercise. It's not like Oak Parkers really need another forum to complain about property taxes and the way this is designed, I'm going to venture a guess that about 95% of what you will here are complaints. There are better ways to understand public opinion on an issue as complicated as taxes, and perhaps ways to demonstrate a little more the benefits that these taxes pay for. Yes, it costs a lot of money to live here but I also feel like I get a lot of value out of my property taxes (I have three kids in the public school system).

Submitted by Jebber on

I moved my family out of Oak Park on April 12th after having spent nearly 5 years here. We had every intention of raising our 3 girls in Oak Park and being long time residents and members of the community. Now, I am very happy to be gone.

In our short time in Oak Park, our taxes increased 40% - despite 2 successful appeals. During this time, violent crimes (carjackings, armed robberies, etc) have become a weekly story. The ratings for our schools have gone down. There is no real plan in place to rectify any of this. School districts seem only focused on egregious facilities and hiring people to administer diversity.

I struggled to get my daughter's into popular park district programs as many spaces were taken by non-residents. We gave up on going to the Oak Park pools during the summer as they became overrun with non-residents.

Oak Park is trying to be all things to all people .. Oak Park resident or not. There just isn't enough money to pay for it all so taxes are exploding.

I took a huge sigh of relief when our house closed and we were gone. I truly believe next year spring there will be a flood of homes on the market after this fall's reassessed tax bills.

Overall, I find Oak Park to be a very poor value. Why would I pay these insane amount of taxes for declining schools and increasing violent crime? Do I really want to pay 22k in taxes to hear about a Mother being carjacked with her kids in the car in broad daylight 4 blocks from my house? No thank you.

Good riddance.

Submitted by Jack Davidson on

I'm hearing more and more from members of our community "as soon as my kids are through school, we are outta here". This hurts my heart to think that OP has become a temporary stop rather than a lifelong home base destination. OP has so much to offer, it pains me when seemingly zero fiduciary responsibility is accepted by our local taxing bodies and the staff that drives them. We never hear of exercises looking at creating efficiencies on the expense side of the budget, only more hats held out and fear mongering that if we don't vote to pass the referendum-of-the-day, that we're evil and unsupportive. This has to stop, we have to work together to infuse fiduciary responsibility within our districts, and we need to find the courage to remove those in power who are not aligned with this approach - before it is too late.

Submitted by John D'Ortenzio on

I moved in not to long ago, but in the short time I have been here, my taxes have increased at a rate that greatly exceeds my income growth rate. I am now thinking of moving out of oak park.

I ask myself, do I get the same dollar amount of services for what I have to pay. The answer is definitely not.

A quick way to reduce spending and therefore taxes, is to eliminate departments and programs that are "nice to haves" but not essential to our lives.

When Oak Park residents keep more of their money, the local economy will grow, more will want to move in, and the tax base will broaden. With time, Oak Park would generate more income at lower rates. Berwyn manages and they have a far lower average income, and mush larger area.

Submitted by LM on

I appreciate the services provided by the village, especially the schools, libraries and parks, it's why we moved here. At the same time, I am also concerned about the future and wonder how my family will be able to remain in Oak Park, particularly once kids leave school, when we retire and are on a fixed income. Every community benefits from diversity including the presence of older residents. There is only a small segment of the population that could afford to live here on a fixed income and Oak Park will become even more out of reach to people and lose its vibrancy and diversity if something isn't done to check the seemingly endless increases in property tax. Also, I am concerned about the increase in high density construction and what this will mean in terms of demands on schools, facilities, traffic. There needs to be a careful balance struck between expanding the tax base with high density construction and planning to meet the needs of increased population while maintaining a good quality of life for OP residents past/present and future.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Leaving Oak Park- no longer makes sense to live here- it is too expensive.

Submitted by Lali Puig on

I am happy with the services in the village, including education. I am usually happy to pay taxes, but the burden for some residents is out of control. I wonder about what kind of changes would reduce costs without major impact on our services (e.g., reducing standardized testing). There was a citizen effort to look at OP expenses and they thought there may redundancies to eliminate. From a taxing perspective it is unfair, unjust and, frankly, ineffective to draw from local taxes for education. IL is at the tail in serving underserved students, and so I think efforts to reverse this trend should be seriously considered. In other states we've lived, for a fraction of the taxes, we've received VERY good services. I don't have all the answers, but we should look more closely at OP expenses (without spending too much money doing it). Why is it so expensive and can we do without some of it?

Submitted by Chris on

Love the area but there is not a lot of transparency regarding taxes here. How do other areas survive without these absorbutent tax infrastructures? Requires a significant sacrifice and not sure it’s worth it... I don’t think that it anyone will take notice until residents leave.

Submitted by Angus Young on

You know, until this whole state, and every city / village / county in it addresses the pension problem, there will be NO TAX RELIEF!! The current pension system is mathematically unsustainable.

ANd people are leaving. Soon, the only ones left will be govt workers.

This is what needs ot be done.

Declare BANKRUPTCY!!! Do whatever it takes to get this pension money off our backs. Don't give me this constitution garbage either. You rubes in springfield make the laws. You can fix this one.

Once the pension burden is removed (Pensions cut, more pay of govt workers going into their pension, whatever), then this state needs to reduce the 7000 units of govt down to like 3500. No other state has more redundant units of govt than IL. About 35 % of all govt workers need to be let go.

And before you start crying about cops and teachers, there are plenty of desk riding, pencil pushing govt administrators that can be removed by streamlining work, consolidating work, and increasing efficiency.

Once 35% of teh govgt workers are gone and the pensions are gone (or at a manageable level, about 20% of what it is now) Then a new tax structure can be put in place to collect taxes to fund the new lower cost operations of a smaller government.

Stop voting Democrat!!!!! This is what Democrats and Unions DO!!! See Detroit?? Same here in Chicago and IL!!!!!