Vote NO to Property Tax Hike

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Watch out! Another potential permanent property tax increase will be on the April 4th ballot for DeKalb County voters to weigh in on. If approved, the tax would permanently add on 1.22740% to your property tax, every year, for a total annual tax windfall to the county in the amount of $22,030,444.60. The new permanent tax is earmarked to fund optional health services. This tax was promoted by the County’s Health and Human Services committee, under chairman Misty Haji-Sheikh.

Last summer and fall the committee schemed to brand this tax to the public as a replacement of a temporary tax that expired to try to pull a fast one over the public. However, the county’s lawyers advised that they could not do this, so the tax must be put forth for what it is, a new ‘permanent’ property tax.

In discussions, the Health Committee can be heard mocking the taxpayers when they discussed ways of ‘convincing’ the public to buy into the increase with phrases like “trust us.” Board members can be heard laughing out loud, after one board member remarked at the June 6th, 2016 meeting that the county should send out postcards to senior citizens that say “vote for this or die!” Really? This is no laughing matter.

The committee also schemed and delayed putting this on the ballot from November 2016 to April 2017 because fewer people would vote on it. On June 6, 2016, County Board Chairman Pietrowski stated that there will be fewer voters to reach out to. So, are they trying to pull a fast one on the voters? Yes, they are.

Grants were obtained and used to pay for these optional services in the past, however, the county health department has been lax in obtaining new grants for funding for these health services, so, they are turning to the taxpayer. Again, it is important to note that the services the proposition will fund, are not mandated services.

The tax increase will be the last item on the ballot. I urge you to vote NO on the permanent Health Property tax increase referendum on April 4th.

— Mark Charvat, DeKalb

63 COMMENTS

  1. People want free health services with someone else paying the bill through property tax. Same thing as has occurred in Chicago over the past 30 years. Now Chicago is broke and business and people are moving out of state. They slowly kill the businesses that provide the tax revenue. People need to vote NO.

  2. Vote No, $15 now, but just wait! $15 for a house, what do you think they’ll tack on a tax bill for farm land. I was at the county board meeting where they asked to have this put on the ballot. They talked about being able to provide vaccines etc to children, isn’t that what we are already providing, free health care for children from ACA. I am so tired of people coming out from the suburbs and getting free everything out here. I pay for too many freeloaders now, and I’m tired of it!!!

  3. It is important to note that shortly after I filed foias for the audio from these meetings, the DeKalb County Board took up a resolution to provide audio from committee meetings on its website, and voted the measure down. Their intent is to try to hide the embarrassing conduct of the Health Committee board members. Sadly, county board chairman Mark Pietrowski, Who professes “open government”, voted against the measure. I was very sad at Mark Pietrowski’s vote. Mr Pietrowski is only giving his constituents “lip service” The county would prefer to go through the FOIA process, to continue to hide what is going on at committee level.

    • Mark, as a reminder from when we talked on the phone. There is no need to FOIA audio from committee minutes. Just need to ask via phone or email and you or anyone is granted access. I am indeed for open and transparency in goverenment having taught Journalism at NIU, I believe in the press.

      There is no intent to hide anything when all our meetings are open and audio is available upon request.

      There was no measure to vote against Mark. That was just a discussion item at executive board meeting. Please recall the phone call we had where I told you this issue of having audio available on the website was going to be discussed at our Rules committee. I am fine with audio being available as it is an ADA issue.

      We would love individuals from the public to attend meetings if they are able or if not get the audio or read the minutes.

      Each of our regular county board meetings are streamed live online and video recorded.

      Audio, just like video, can be taken out of context which is why I wouls always refer constiutents interested to listen to unedited audio or video from the DeKalb County Government website.

      I don’t give lip service, I’m always willing to talk and listen, you know this.

      So again, we encourage residents to reach out to us with any thoughts, ideas, etc…

      The Ad Hoc rules committee meets next week.

    • Mark the audio is recorded by the county, and I was asking you to make it available for anyone to access on the website. I want to make it clear, at committee level you did vote AGAINST this idea. You, or no one on the county board, should be the judge of what is released to the public when it comes to an open published meeting. . Let the public make that decision, you do not have the right to act as a filter. Meeting minutes only tell “part of the story”, like cliff notes, if you will. In the case of the health meetings involved, there was no mention of the laughing, scheming on the health tax referendum that could be heard, reflected in the official meeting minutes. The audio obtained by FOIA, posted on the Youtube, are unedited recordings provided by the county through my FOIA. . You mention the County website, there is no “audio”, please point me to the audio you mention. If the audio was present, i would not have had o FOIA this in the first place.

    • Mark, didn’t you just say that you were a champion of open government? By your silence, you allowed this to die. A parliamentary move, that I saw right through. If you ‘truly’ believe in making meeting audio available, you will bring this up at the ad-hoc committee. I will gather the audio from the Exec meeting I FOIA’d to share in another post let everyone know how timid committee members were to have people listen to their exact words. the conversation was embarrassing.

    • Ad Hoc Published Agenda … Mark Pietrowski .nothing related to meeting audio…..1Roll Call
      2. Approval of Minutes
      3. Approval of Agenda
      4. Public Comments
      5. Ethics Policy
      6. County Administrator Authority Outline
      7. County Chairman & Vice Chairman
      Authority Outline
      8. Employee Evaluation Processes
      9. Records Keeping Process
      10. Human Resources Function
      11. Old Business/New Business
      12. Adjournment

  4. So a temporary tax expired, and they are looking to replace that tax with a permanent one. Is the proposed tax the same amount as the old one? If so, there is no increase to what everyone’s been paying. It seems like this money is going to the health department, which I think is a good use of funds. What are the cons of this tax?

    • Katy, The cons are that the tax does not have to be spent on it’s intended use. The health board’s method of getting this on the ballot is unsavory. In Addition, the heath department obtained these funds from grant in the past, but has been lazy in applying for new grants, so their response is to turn to the taxpayers. Another con is that the “optional” services this tax will fund will be paid for by “only” property owners and not the community at large. In fact, individuals from outside the county, who do not contribute will be able to use these services. The health department has been mismanaged, in fact, for a period of over a month and half in 2016, the health department had two fully salaried directors at salaries in excess of $150,000.00

    • Thanks for the well-informed response! It sounds like there should be more restrictions on what the taxed is used for. I’d agree I’d rather have the tax applied to only those living within the county, and for it to only be used on the correct services.

    • Right now the tax is zero, so in reality it is a tax increase, but the county board is attempting to market it as a tax decrease. The County lawyer informed Mr Pietrowski and the County board that the county cannot label the tax as replacement tax on the ballot, though they initially schemed to do so to fool the voters. The tax is what it is a NEW tax, as it worded on the ballot $22,030,444.60. WOW!

    • Mark, I said it is a new tax and that it is different than the tax going off the books. We weren’t advised by state’s attorney, that was in regards to ballot languauge which was mandated by state of Illinois when board members iquired if the language could be changed. Yes, taxes went down $650,000 and would go up to $500,000 if referendum approved. If not it would keep the $650,000 reduction.

    • Yes, I am on the board, and I voted to put the tax to the voters, which is where I think it belongs. We are talking about approximately $15 per year per household. I think it is the right of the voters to vote on this, and I hope you all come out and vote the way you think is best. Remember that the $22 million is the total County revenue from all property taxes; if this fails the revenue will remain at $21.5 million.

    • Thank you for all of the responses. I wish the media would be more educational like this news feed in order to see the pros and cons equally, so I as a voter can make my own informed decision. I realize this particular article is an opinion piece, but the daily chronicle never mentioned anything about the temporary tax at all, and that could change an individual’s stance. I’ll definitely be voting now that I have more information.

    • Yes, the entire county board has on our legislative agenda each year that the state government needs a constitutional amendment to change how we tax in this state. We are way too reliant on property taxes for all levels of government. In the county we are part of a property tax cap but as a whole with the state formula people pay too much in property taxes. We need reform, there is no question.

      The Federal and State Governments also provide unfunded mandates that local governments must do and reduce funds provided to local governments. It is a common tactic so they can make claims of a cut when the responsibility is then just transfered to a lower local government.

      The Health Department referendum is asking for an additional tax for the first time in its 50 year existence. It is for $500,000 a year which equates to $9.57 cents a year for a $100,000 home.

      A building bond was retired in 2016 and taxes dropped byv $650,000 a year. The end net result if referndum were approved would be $150,000 less in taxes for 2018 from where it was in previous years.

      There has been a 24 percent workforce reduction at the Health Department since 2010.

      The county board however is not in control of the Health Department budget and operation. It is the Board of Health that is.

      It will be up to voters on which direction they want the local county health department to go in.

    • All 24 county board members live in the county also and would have to pay any increase if it were to go into effect.

      IL needs tax reform and to be less reliant on property taxes but our state government officials need to take action after talking about the need for change for the past 30 years.

    • Keep in mind this is the same health department that was double dipping in 2016, by having two Health Directors employed for a period of over a month and a half, with taxpayers paying two people to do one job (each had salaries of over $150,000 a yr). The health department is not a good steward of your tax dollars. In addition, they failed to secure grants for the ‘optional’ services, as they have in the past, so they want to the taxpayers to approve a permanent tax increase. I urge everyone in DeKalb county to share this with every voter you know.

    • It is natural when able to have a department head offer training to an incoming director. The board of health decided on that and Jane Lux was made available for an hourly rate and eas not continuing to work full-time for that one month.

      They didn’t fail to secure grants Mark. Many times grants go away or in some cases they were rewarded but then no money was able to be provided.

      The Health Department has done more with less. They are now asking voters to make a choice on their future and are providing information.

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