WILL COUNTY - Will County voters elected a Republican majority to their county board in November, but as one of their last acts, lame duck Democrat majority voted to raise the county's taxes.
During the November 20th meeting, the Will County Board vote split 13 Democrats to 13 Republicans on the tax question, with the deciding vote going to the Democrat County Executive Larry Walsh.
“For the average homeowner, the higher levy will mean paying $5.50 more per year in property tax," Chairman Walsh told the Southtown Star. "The levy increase includes $1.6 million more in the actual levy plus $1.3 million from new property.”
Will County Board member Steve Ballich said things will change when Republicans take over the board in December.
"Republican control begins in December. A time of fiscal responsibility will return to the Will County Board," Ballich said. "Unlike Democrats who refer to the property tax increase as just five to then dollars, Republicans understand the increase - coupled with the other property tax increases - puts an increased burden on families."
Republican board member Jim Moustis agreed.
“Will County is just one of many taxing districts in the county. This is death by a thousand cuts," he said. "Will County can go forward, in my opinion, and accomplish our goals without raising taxes. Property tax is only about one-third of the total revenue sources.”
Chairman Walsh voiced his frustration with the Republican members of the board to the Times Weekly saying, “Republican Will County Board members didn’t just vote against the 2014-15 budget Thursday, but against all 11 levies needed to fund county government after Dec. 1.”
Those levies included Will County's Corporate Fund, FICA, IMRF, Tort Immunity Fund, Workman’s Comp Reserve Fund, TB Sanitarium Fund, County Highway Fund, County Bridge Fund and Federal Aid Matching Fund.
"As a resident of Will County I am incensed at this property tax increase and increases by the other taxing bodies," Board member Ballich said. "I can’t believe especially the schools need to have so much of my hard earned money to operate. District 33C in Homer Glen/Lockport cost $19,000 per student per year. The fire districts, library, and the rest raise property taxes to the max because they can. There is never an effort to cut the spending and taxes."
Ballich's concerns were echoed by a Tinley Park resident that spoke during the meeting's public comment period.
"When will it end? How long before I am taxed out of my house?" he asked the board. "These increasing taxes are unsustainable."
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