Property taxes will rise in Chicago’s Norridge and Highland Park. The Highland Park City Council approved an $80 million budget for next year, which includes a 15% hike in water costs and an increase in property taxes attributed to fire and police pension funds.
“Continued pressure to fund public safety pensions is draining resources away from support of city services and capital investment,” said Ghida Neukirch, City Manager, in a letter detailing the budget.
The property tax hike of nearly $1 million is expected to be approved by December 10. If approved, it will add about $222 to property tax bills of homeowners with homes valued at $500,000. Chicago-area residents are already paying exceptionally high property taxes.
“Assessments are applied to properties on a mass scale, with little or no consideration to an individual property’s circumstances. Any changes in assessed value may result in higher real estate taxes” states this site: https://garyhsmith.com
Further, “assessed values can be challenged. The property tax appeals system allows you, the property owner, to appeal your assessment and reduce your property taxes by hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on your property’s circumstances”
The hike is due partly to the city’s plan to direct an additional $2.4 million to both police and fire pensions to minimize future tax increases. Illinois law requires that public safety pensions be 90% funded by 2040.
The total pension contributions for 2019, which equate to $8.1 million, will consist primarily of the $6.3 million from property tax levies for police and fire pensions. The city will provide $1.7 million from income tax revenue distributed to local governments.
Along with property tax hikes, the budget calls for a 15% increase in water rates. The increase comes after five consecutive years of 5% increases. The city estimates that the increase will cost the average four-person home an additional $70 or more per year.
Norridge officials are also moving forward with plans to increase property taxes more than 35% to meet police pension fund obligations. Trustees approved the proposal at the village board meeting on November 14.
That meeting came after a truth in taxation meeting during which officials provided details on the proposal. Northridge must increase corporate and special purpose taxes from around $1.18 million in 2017 to $1.6 million in 2018 to meet pension cost obligations. It equates to a 35.51% increase compared to the previous year.
Official estimate that homeowners will see an increase of around $50-$80 on their tax bills.
The increase is part of Norridge’s five-year transition plan to help the village catch up on its payments to the pension fund. Previous administrations had lagged on payments in the past, putting the village behind on funding.
Officials say the change is needed to fund the police pension fund for the current fiscal year, which runs from May 1, 2018 through April 30, 2019.