State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) has filed House Bill 2815, a measure to abolish Cook County’s four mosquito abatement taxing districts: North Shore, Northwest, Desplaines Valley and South Cook. Together, these districts collect well over $11 million in property tax revenue annually, a majority of which those revenues are spent on salaries, pensions and perks.
The Chicago Tribune and the Better Government Association have pointed to numerous expenditures. One example includes the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District’s (NSMAD) most recent annual report. In this report, the board appropriated $355,700 for mosquito-fighting supplies and equipment. But the district set aside $659,341 for salaries, $89,500 for pension contributions and Social Security, and $227,500 for insurance and bonds. These figures equate to $1.3 million in taxpayer dollars last year where over 75% of that allocation went to salaries, pensions and benefits for NSMAD employees. The board meets once a month.
“Like most of us, I always scratch my head when I read the line item for mosquito control on my tax bill,” said Durkin. “Government watchdogs and the media have also called for the ending of this ancient practice and I agree. We are paying for more pensions we cannot afford for mosquito control even during the dead of a Cook County winter.”
Under Durkin’s proposal, all four mosquito abatement districts in Cook County would expire on January 1, 2015. All transfer of the powers, duties, employees, property, records, and unexpended revenues of the four mosquito abatement districts would go to the Cook County Department of Environmental Control. The tax levy for each district will expire as well.
“We already have a government agency that can protect the county in case of West Nile,” added Durkin. “If people are mad about their property taxes, they can help me start some tax relief by contacting their legislators so we can pass this bill.”
House Bill 2815 is currently assigned to the Counties & Townships Committee in the Illinois House.