About 400 residents from a Grayslake subdivision targeted toward people 55 and older are pushing the village's school districts to hold the line on property taxes.
Carillon North resident Paul Bernardoni appeared before the Grayslake High School District 127 board Thursday night with a petition requesting the elected officials not authorize a higher tax levy for 2017. He was accompanied by about 20 Carillon North homeowners.
Bernardoni said volunteers went door to door and collected roughly 400 signatures on a petition asking that District 127 hold off on a property tax levy increase or approve one that seeks a maximum 0.3 percent increase for 2017. The 0.3 percent would represent the Social Security cost-of-living increase for 2017.
A similar petition also with about 400 signatures was presented to the Grayslake Elementary District 46 board Wednesday night.
Bernardoni said other Grayslake seniors and residents overall are having a difficult time coping with rising taxes.
Herb Spooner, a Carillon North homeowners association board member and finance committee chairman, told District 127 officials he and his colleagues worked to freeze their monthly assessments and the budget.
He said he hopes the high school district can do the same with its taxes.
"It was a lot of give-and-take," Spooner said. "A lot of soul searching. But we were successful."
Carillon North resident Bill Morris said he's concerned because property tax assessments have gone up by 9.5 percent across the board in Avon Township, similar to other hikes in Lake County.
He asked District 127 to "take a break" from approving a higher tax levy for next year because younger and older residents are finding Grayslake to be unaffordable.
"When people are leaving, it is not a good sign," Morris said.
District 127 Superintendent Catherine Finger was receptive to the residents.
"We would love to sit down personally with you and share the details of our budget and what the scenario is moving forward," Finger said.
Bernardoni, who noted Grayslake's two school districts typically account for about 75 percent of a tax bill, said residents then need to take action of their own by appearing before boards of education and ask that an effort be made to hold the line on tax hikes.
"I think it is important they understand people are concerned," he said.