One thing everyone seems to agree upon is that property taxes are too high here in Illinois. The solutions to high property taxes, however, are typically where opinions differ. Kane County directly accounts for roughly 5% of your total property tax bill, meaning that for every dollar you spend on property taxes the County receives a nickel. So what value are you getting out of your nickel?
To put it frankly Kane County is stretching that nickel pretty far. We are providing constitutionally mandated services in an efficient and nationally recognized manner. Being a Conservative doesn't mean that you eliminate all services, rather that you insure that they are provided in the most cost effect manner possible. For instance:
- Our Transportation and Development Departments are continually receiving state and national awards for their outstanding services.
- Our Courts are run efficiently to insure every person is given a fair and impartial trial.
- Our Sheriff, State's Attorney and Public Defender Offices are equipped with the means to defend and protect our residents.
- Our Clerk, Treasurer, Recorder and Auditor have all elevated Kane County's transparency and accountability to surpass state standards and become universally recognized as the leader among Illinois Counties.
- Our Health Department continues to provide screenings and health safety services to our residents - staying ahead of potential dangers and concerns.
- Our Stormwater and Environmental Resources Departments continue to improve quality of life in Kane County while protecting our vital resources.
- Our commitment to our employees both union and non-union is met through full funding of pensions - a position the State of Illinois and many surrounding governments can only aspire to be in.
And we provide all these services without asking for more than a nickel of your property tax dollar since I was first elected in 2012. That is an amazing feat to keep our budget flat for that long despite unfunded mandates and reduction in reimbursements from the State of Illinois. Let's put this into perspective - Did you know that prior to the implementation of the ongoing property tax levy freeze Kane County had increased it's levy by 50% over an 8 year period of time? Voters collectively said "no more" and elect new members who ended the trend and saved the County $43.2 million since 2012.
During the same period of time Kane County has not shirked our fiscal responsibilities. Over the last 10 years we have paid down our general obligation bonds and debt services by roughly 73% while fully funding our IMRF pension liability.
All of this information is backed by facts that can be checked directly at http://kanecountyauditor.com/Pages/OpenGov.aspx (when we say we have a 100% transparency rating we mean it). But since this is campaign season you are likely to hear candidates tell you something different. Here are a couple of whoppers I heard already this season:
|Opponents Say...||Property Taxes are too high...|
But the truth is...
Absolutely, but the statement alone is misleading. Anyone saying this is leading you to believe that ALL property taxes are paid to the County, when we only receive a nickel of every tax dollar spent. When candidates promise you increased spending and new programs, ask them how they plan to fund these initiatives while lowering your taxes? Their answer may make your eyes cross.
Let's be honest here. Kane County has kept our levy flat since I was first elected in 2012. I can't (and won't) lie to you and promise to flatten or reduce those other levies that I have no control over. Your elected School Board, Municipal and Library Boards have autonomy and control over their own levies. I will, however, continue to be fiscally responsible with the County's budget to the benefit of Seniors, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and all other residents of our community.
|Opponents Say...||Maintain the property tax assessment freeze for seniors|
But the truth is...
Again, sounds great but these candidates are trying to take credit for the Senior Citizens Freeze Homestead Exemption (35ILCS200/15-172) which was created in 1994 by the Illinois State Legislature. Candidates for County Board can neither protect nor discontinue this program since it is a State program. Any inclination to the contrary is either from a dishonest politician or an uninformed one (neither of which should be serving in a position of public trust).
Incidentally, if you are a senior and have not already applied for this exemption visit the Kane County Assessment Office and do so <<HERE>>