Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tax Freeze is only way to Property Tax Relief

When I ran for the County Board a few years ago, I did so only to continue my pursuit of governmental consolidation and efficiency. I did so knowing it was a steep hill to climb and to accomplish this task my fellow Lake County Board Members and State Legislators would have to step up to the plate and be bold in taking on old political practices that keep taking more money from our citizens pockets.

My attempt to save Lake County Property Tax payers an estimated 4.4 million by Eliminating 18 Township Assessors has been slowed down considerably because my fellow Lake County Board members do not want to promote this obvious reduction in property taxes and create a better assessment system. You think Politics? Really? The Board has made it clear that the Governor and/or Legislators would need to take a lead on this issue to move forward but again refused to take any position on this reform. I will continue to drill down on data with our assessors to promote correct facts as long as the County Board will permit.

Other County functions that need study and have promise of tax savings are restructuring/consolidating offices like the Recorder of Deeds, County Clerk, Treasurer, and Coroner. Even though I was promised by some we would look into these issues, to date, very little work has taken place on these efficiencies.

Unified and properly sized school districts have barely moved over the past few decades and continue to be the largest burden on property taxes.

Pensions and other benefit packages for politician's and staff still need work to become more realistic to market conditions, but only baby steps have been taken on this front.

Bottom line is local government needs a reality check to get with the program and find new ways of cooperation and consolidation. Politicians that won't budge and refuse to change should be voted out of office immediately. Citizens need to run for office and challenge the old and new guard if they continue to remain stagnant.

One way of stopping increases in taxes and levies from governments is to freeze the levy so local governments are forced to find ways to maintain services without simply spending more. I am hoping the Governor an Legislators do continue to push on this front because I do find local politicians are in denial and refuse to show the leadership needed to support our residents and create a sustainable governance model.