Kane County directs tax bill complainers to schools, towns

 
 
Posted5/17/2012 5:42 PM

Once property tax bills starting arriving two weeks ago, complaints have been rolling into the Kane County government offices.

Staff members try to tell people that the treasurer, clerk and supervisor of assessments aren't the ones to blame for tax increases.

 

The county employees have a new tool this year, however, to make sure everybody gives the same information: A five-page question-and-answer, developed by the Kane County Tax Group.

That group includes the treasurer, the clerk, the supervisor, the information technologies department, the state's attorney's office and township assessors. The handout was suggested by a secretary in the county board's office, one of several offices that field complaints.

Besides saying "it's not our fault," the document points to the specific taxing bodies. It lists the 2010 and 2011 tax extensions for all school districts and municipalities in the county, and the percentage change from one year to the next. It also gives the telephone numbers for all those taxing bodies, and directs people to call them.

Susan M. Ericson, director of tax extension and vital records for the clerk's office, told the Kane County Board's Public Services Committee Thursday her office has taken at least 800 calls, and the majority are coming from residents of Batavia School District 101. The district's tax extension went up 11.5 percent, primarily to repay money borrowed for the expansion of Batavia High School and repairs and expansions at other schools.

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Residents of the city of Batavia also had the largest tax-extension increase in the county, at 7.4 percent. The next closest was Pingree Grove, at 5.1 percent.

Committee members shook their heads and criticized school and municipal officials. County board member Jackie Tredup said she had just come from a community event earlier in the morning where "I was just inundated with people complaining about their taxes ... these taxpayers cannot carry this burden."

County board member Tom Van Cleave, a former Batavia schools trustee, criticized the school district over its promise before a 2007 referendum that it would keep the tax rate stable. People thought that meant their taxes would be stable, he said. Property tax caps don't apply to property taxes needed to repay debt.

And committee Chairman Hollie Lindgren wagged a finger, too. "They're (towns and schools) not buckling down on budgets. Shame on everybody for still spending this money when the economy is still bad," she said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The county's tax extension dropped by .8 percent.

Kane County Treasurer David Rickert, who sends out the tax bills and receives the payments, said about 13 percent of the first installment has been received. The first installment is due June 1, the second on Sept. 1.

A deputy from the Kane County Recorder of Deeds' office told the committee that "lien pending" recordings, most indicating foreclosure action, has increased dramatically in the last six weeks, and is ahead of last year's filings at this point.

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