Cicero assessor calls township opposition to property tax freeze the 'right thing to do'
Emo Cundari thinks opposing a proposed tax freeze is the right thing for townships like Cicero to do for residents.
“It should not be viewed as a solution to the growing burdens put on homeowners,” Cundari, the town’s assessor, told the West Cook News. “It would hurt the ability of many local governments to meet financial responsibilities and serve the needs of the residents.”
In its current, House-amended form, Senate Bill 851 would establish a two-year property tax freeze for Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage and Will counties.
Passage of the bill would mandate that those counties are only allowed to increase property taxes with voter approval.
All other counties would be subject to referendums asking whether a property tax freeze should be imposed for 2018 and 2019 or that all governments within a county jurisdiction be subject to a property tax freeze over that period and to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law for levy year 2020 and the foreseeable future.
The legislation was not brought up for a vote in the Senate before the veto session ended.
“Township governments provide services to the residents that some municipalities could not provide on their own and would be too much of a burden on county government to take on,” Cundari said.
Regarding SB851, Bryan Smith, the executive director of the Township Officials of Illinois, had sent a legislative alert to township officials asking them to urge their state lawmakers to oppose the measure.
Cundari said voters should be leery of any temporary fix that could cause more harm than good in terms of the debt and long-term burden it could generate.
“Township governments have a responsibility to provide for their residents and provide services that are crucial to public health and safety,” he said. “Local economies may see a short-term gain thru a tax freeze, but the long-term burden would be put right back on the backs of the homeowners.”