Gurnee mayor steps up for residents claiming unfair taxes to sewage district
Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik has gone to bat for some residents who have questioned why they pay taxes to the North Shore Sanitary District but don't receive service.
Kovarik said she visited the sanitary district board last week and asked that a meeting be scheduled to discuss the issue. Kovarik said the move was prompted by research submitted to her by resident Jerry Kolar, who lives in the area in question on Gurnee's east side.
"I've had people (complain) to me over the last seven years" about that issue, she said Monday.
In June, Kolar read a statement to the Gurnee-based sanitary district board, raising concerns about paying "unfair" taxes without receiving anything in return since 1998.
He said a majority of his neighborhood on Gurnee's northeast side didn't want to be in the district when the land was annexed 14 years ago. Kolar said he and other residents have elected to stay with their own septic systems and aren't served by the district.
He has said he's paid an average of $95 a year to the agency, about $1,235 in all since the 1998 annexation. He said his research shows 283 properties in an area roughly bounded by Glen Flora Avenue, Northwestern Avenue, Green Bay Road and Sunset Avenue are taxed without receiving sanitary district service.
Sanitary district officials maintain it appears the statute of limitations has expired to do anything about the annexation of Gurnee's northeast side.
A homeowner in the neighborhood who wants sanitary sewer service now would pay a $1,360 annexation fee — the same charge assessed in 1998 — as well as a connection fee of $1,952.
Kovarik said she turned over Kolar's research to Gurnee's administrative staff. She said she "started catching on" about how some residents have paid an amount of taxes about equal to the annexation fee without ever hooking into the sanitary district's service.
She said it's hoped something can be worked out for those property owners through an expected meeting between Gurnee and sanitary district officials. Gurnee property owners are billed based on water usage information provided to the sanitary district by the village.
Property taxes are collected for administrative costs from homeowners living east of the Tri-State Tollway. Lake County Public Works bills for sewer service to Gurnee property owners west of the tollway. North Shore Sanitary is the second-largest sewage treatment agency in Illinois, behind the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.
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