Like others, I commend Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle for eliminating the unwarranted Todd Stroger 1 percent increase in the county sales tax. However, what the county gives back with one hand, it takes back with another. Let me explain.
Recently, I paid off a mortgage obligation. In return, the financial house sent a "release of lien" form to me -- with the advice that I should file the document with the county for any future checks on my credit. I took the one-page document to the recorder of deeds office at the county facility in Rolling Meadows. After I told a staff member what I wanted to do, I was told "OK, that will be $50, cash or check." It took the staffer about three minutes to put a stamp on, notarize and scan the document.
Like others, I pay about $1,000 per year in county sales taxes and $850 in property taxes levied by the county so that its services are available to me. Until now, I haven't knowingly used county services other than driving on county-maintained roads and voting at a polling place. Now, when I want to record a one-page document, I am required to pay $50? Not $5 or $10, but $50. That is outrageous!
In the era of concern about "fairness," is it fair to require a person working at the minimum wage to cough up nearly one day's pay so that he or she can record a one page document? Of course it isn't. But, that part of the joy of living in Cook County -- the home of endless taxes and no accountability. Maybe President Preckwinkle can work her magic on the Recorder of Deeds Karen A. Yarbrough to apply a "fairer" fee structure.
Charles F. Falk