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Articles filed under Griffin, Jake

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  • Software problem leaves residents in dark on water bills Jul 16, 2014 9:31 AM
    Many West Chicago residents haven't seen a water bill in nearly a year because of a software compatability issue. Residents and some city officials complain poor communication from the city has left many residents owing large sums. “It's scary, and it makes me angry a little bit because I don't know what I'm facing when the bills start coming again,” one resident said.

     
  • Archaic tax formula leaves most suburbs wanting more Jul 9, 2014 4:58 AM
    Suburban Chicago would be almost unrecognizable to someone who hasn't been here in 35 years. But what's the same is the distribution of funds from a lesser-known state tax that is based on how the suburbs looked in 1979. “If you're allocating dollars based on how Illinois looked 40 years ago, we're overdue for a change,” Naperville City Manager Doug Krieger said.

     
  • Publicly owned golf courses losing money, and taxpayers pay Jun 25, 2014 5:02 AM
    A confluence of the economic downturn, declining interest in the sport, poor weather and a glut of course options has put many publicly owned and government-operated golf courses in the red -- and suburban taxpayers pay. “There are too many golf courses and not enough golfers,” said Michael Miller, executive director of the Illinois PGA. “For the health of the industry, some of the golf courses may have to go away.”

     
  • Which suburbs are income tax givers and takers? Jul 16, 2014 1:17 PM
    Since municipalities and counties share in the income taxes collected by the state, how much is coming back home? That depends on where you live. Some suburban workers pay a lot more to the state than what comes back through what's known as the Local Government Distributive Fund. But some places get much more back from the state — in one case, as high as 25 percent of what residents paid in.

     
  • Would consolidation reduce library administrative costs? Jun 4, 2014 12:39 PM
    Wildly fluctuating salaries throughout the suburbs for top library administrators are leading to calls for consolidation to curb unchecked salary growth and ultimately cut costs to taxpayers by eliminating redundancies and duplicative services. However, library officials remain skeptical such initiatives would have the desired financial results.

     
  • Agency head urges tax hike support for 'leverage' May 7, 2014 8:46 AM
    The head of the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference is urging municipal leaders to support keeping the state's 5 percent income tax rate, which is set to decrease next year, in order to curry future "political capital" with legislators, according to a letter he sent Thursday. Some local leaders are unhappy with the taxpayer-funded group's stance.

     
  • Which suburban townships raised property taxes? Apr 30, 2014 9:04 AM
    Property values plummeted on average more than 20 percent from 2009 to 2012 across 50 suburban townships. Meanwhile, leaders of 36 of those townships increased property tax collections during those same years.

     
  • How Medinah’s proposed tax cut could cost schools Mar 26, 2014 3:11 PM
    Officials at the exclusive Medinah Country Club near Roselle are attempting to reduce the property tax burden by nearly 80 percent for each of the last three years. If successful, two school districts would have to repay the club roughly $300,000 each, or essentially the equivalent of 12 new teachers' salaries, officials said.

     
  • College of Lake County board spent $110,000 on travel, food over two years Mar 27, 2014 1:52 PM
    While the College of Lake County board has racked up nearly $110,000 in expenses over the past two years, it was a $128.87 bill for late night snacks that prompted trustees to tighten their spending policies recently. “Since I’ve been a board member, I’ve felt certain board members have forgotten we’re on taxpayers’ dollars and writing off more things than they should,” said Chairman Amanda Howland.

     
  • COD trustees reimbursed for driving to meetings Feb 26, 2014 11:04 AM
    Two College of DuPage trustees combined to charge taxpayers more than $1,500 over the past two years to drive to the Glen Ellyn campus and back to their Naperville homes. Some trustees defend the practice, but government watchdog groups and even some of their fellow trustees question it.

     
  • Daily Herald Watchdog reports spur new legislation, transparency Feb 12, 2014 9:04 AM
    State Rep. Fred Crespo introduces legislation that would allow the executive inspector general to inform state agencies of potential public safety risks uncovered during investigations, even if the investigation is ongoing. The bill was in response to a Daily Herald report that revealed a state amusement ride inspector was allowed to keep his job for a year after investigators determined he was fudging safety reports.

     
  • Retiree bonuses cost taxpayers millions Feb 6, 2014 10:31 AM
    Every July, thousands of Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund pensioners find a little something extra in their mailboxes in addition to their monthly pension check. In 2013, those little somethings added up to a big bill for taxpayers ó $41,054,552. Itís called the ď13th Payment,Ē and itís essentially a bonus paid to retirees for simply living another year and outliving other retirees.

     
  • Part-time elected officials can't undo pensions Jan 29, 2014 9:19 AM
    Grant Wehrli doesn't want a pension for serving as a Naperville city councilman, but thanks to his fellow council members it looks like he'll get one. And he won't be alone. Some 42 former suburban aldermen, mayors and clerks together receive more than $200,000 a year combined for once holding elected office.

     
  • Which school districts tax the most per student? Jan 22, 2014 5:35 AM
    Property taxes collected to run public schools range from $30,381 per student in Rondout Elementary District 72 to $2,815 per student in East Aurora Unit District 131, with 90 other suburban school districts falling somewhere between. For schools at the bottom end of the ranking, the taxing disparity means more reliance on state and federal resources and more basic programs.

     
  • Singing state worker kept on day job a year after filing false report Feb 11, 2014 6:10 PM
    Even after his supervisors at the Illinois Department of Labor discovered Chuck Drager fudged a safety inspection report for a ski lift at Villa Olivia in Bartlett, he was allowed to continue working for more than a year. Drager not only received almost $100,000 in pay while being investigated, but he continued to falsify safety reports, state inspectors said. He also sometimes left work early for his side gig as a singer.

     
  • Ex-cop in Grayslake wins pension battle; who has state's highest pension? Jan 1, 2014 10:53 AM
    Who won the battle over an extra cost-of-living increase for a former Grayslake police sergeant? Who was driving the IDOT truck that was ticketed for running a red light in Hanover Park? Who has the state's highest pension? Find out in this latest serving of watchdog kibble.

     
  • Resident miss millions in quirky Dist. 220 tax rebates Nov 28, 2013 5:25 AM
    A quirky setup stemming from a long-running legal battle has Cook County property taxpayers in Barrington Unit District 220 paying rebates to their Lake County counterparts — but only if the Lake County homeowners sign up every year and pay one-third to a lawyer. “It's something that government, or whoever put this in, could take care of by writing rules correctly,” said Carl Koenemann, a North Barrington homeowner.

     
  • 'Sin' tax hikes don't yield long-term revenue spikes Oct 23, 2013 8:27 AM
    While state lawmakers continue to increase "sin taxes" on booze, cigarettes and gambling, revenues from the so-called “sin taxes” aren't keeping pace. At $1.95 billion, the state generated almost the same amount in tax revenue from these vices in 2012 as it did in 2003. “If you don't think this will affect you, it almost always does in the long run because the money almost never comes through like they think it will,” one expert said.

     
  • County clerks plus election boards costs suburbs Oct 9, 2013 9:57 AM
    It would cost Lake County taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars more to create an election commission mandated by the legislature, mainly in administrative salaries and benefits. DuPage County is the example. “I've always joked that it takes two highly compensated men in DuPage to do what I do,” Lake County Clerk Willard Helander said. “But I've never scrutinized the budgets of the offices in DuPage.”

     
  • School conference already costing some taxpayers more Oct 2, 2013 5:17 AM
    Grayslake Elementary District 46 taxpayers have already spent $2,300 more for the annual school board and administrators conference in downtown Chicago than they did last year. And that's just the registration costs and hotel deposits for the Nov. 22-24 conference. Eight suburban districts have already spent more on the conference than they did last year. So far, 62 suburban districts have registered 532 school board members, administrators and employees at a cost of $307,647.

     
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