Avon Township has launched a pilot program to help eligible seniors and military personnel pay their property tax bills.
The program will offer those residents grants averaging $200 to $300 apiece through the Avon Township Community Foundation, a designated charitable organization. The grants will be funded by pay increases that have been returned in recent years by seven elected township officials.
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"Within the township, I would say there are hundreds of families affected by this," township Supervisor Sam Yingling said of the new Senior and Veteran Tax Assistance Program.
After the first installment of property taxes were due June 6, Yingling said he heard of several instances in which residents had difficulty making the payment and had to choose between paying for food and medication or the tax bill.
"You hear these stories everyday," he added.
So with the second installment due Sept. 6, Yingling put the pilot program in place. The supervisor's office is responsible for emergency funding and general assistance.
"We have limited funding and we want to see what kind of response we get. The funding right now is flexible," he said.
Selecting those who need assistance will follow the same policy as for emergency assistance. According to Illinois Department of Human Services, single persons can have a maximum gross income of $20,148 and a family of four $41,352 to qualify, for example. Seniors 65 and older and veterans seeking help with property taxes have to apply at the township office, 433 E. Washington St., Round Lake Park and provide proof of income.
Yingling said the township will evaluate the program as applications are received.
The Lake County Treasurer's office is ahead of schedule as far as tax collection and disbursements, according to Don Schneider, chief deputy treasurer.
"This isn't an unusual year for delinquencies at this point," he said.
Avon Township has a population of 65,001 and encompasses all or part of Grayslake, Hainesville, Round Lake, Round Lake Beach, Round Lake Park, Round Lake Heights and Third Lake.