Village Officers and Trustees - E-Mail Directory
Another election cycle has passed and it’s time to move forward with the best interests of all of our residents in mind
Elections always are stressful, but the one we just experienced was especially difficult because of the divisiveness that erupted as a component of it. While ours always has been a community united in our approach to things, the blatant misrepresentation of facts that was a large part of the recent campaign caused neighbor to be suspicious of neighbor, and also caused some of our citizens to question my motives and those of some other elected officials.
While it is true that residents of our housing cooperatives pay less in property taxes unit-by-unit than do the residents of our single-family homes, that situation has nothing to do with actions taken by the Park Forest Village Board or by any of our municipal officials. Rather, it is based on state law, which requires that co-ops be assessed based on the actual market value, just as are single-family homes. Obviously, taxes on property that sells for $150,000 or more – which is the average selling price for our single-family homes – will be higher than the amount paid on property that sells for $12,000 – the selling price for the average co-op. What this points to is that government services, especially school funding, no longer should rely so heavily on property taxes, but rather should be financed from the state income tax.
Making that kind of a legislative change, for which our Village Board has lobbied for a long time, would eliminate the disproportionate amount of taxes paid by single-family residents compared to co-op residents. It would mean all residents pay taxes based on their income rather than on what kind of land they own. This is a much fairer and equitable system than the one we presently have.
Furthermore, the Park Forest Village Board is responsible for only one-third of the property tax bill, and that covers all services such as police, fire, ambulance and paramedics, parks and recreation, public works, public health, building inspections, our efforts to attract more commerce, etc. Approximately 60 percent of the local tax bill goes to support schools. Those taxes are determined by the individual school boards, not by the Village Board.
In addition, much of what is charged in taxes by the local school districts was approved by the residents of our community through various referenda passed over the last several years. It was a grossly unfair characterization on the part of some individuals to make it appear that the Park Forest Village Board is responsible for the entire property tax bill, or for all the increases that residents have experienced over the last few years.
In the weeks ahead, the Village Board will continue its efforts to get out into the community through neighborhood meetings and will listen to you, the residents, regarding the priorities we need to address in the future. I am optimistic that good and open communication will go far in healing the wounds that have been opened during the recent campaign. Ultimately, because of the good work that we do – the citizens and the elected officials united and together – Park Forest will continue to be one of the truly outstanding communities of the
Thanks for your vote of confidence.