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Wayne's Words: Why Property Tax increased?

Wayne Horne | 5/11/2017, midnight
Last week’s arrival in the mail of the property tax bill probably delighted no one when it was discovered most, ...

Last week’s arrival in the mail of the property tax bill probably delighted no one when it was discovered most, if not all, taxing bodies showed an increased amount due. Most homeowners have their property taxes escrowed as part of the monthly mortgage payment and don’t always scrutinize the amount due unless it increases their monthly mortgage payment.

The property tax bill is calculated by combining the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) with the tax rate of each government unit. In Illinois, of course, there are a multitude of government units on a property tax bill. Many times, you may hear from the taxing body that the tax rate was not increased. “Why did my tax bill go up”, you say? Because the assessed value increased. This year, in some instances, both increased.

That’s been less likely the last few years because property values have fallen, but that trend has reversed itself the last couple of years. Local governments face increasing costs and the tax bill reflects those increases. The biggest percentage increases on my tax bill this year came from Will County, the Will County Forest Preserve District, and Joliet Junior College. The biggest dollar amount of the tax bill goes to the various school districts on each homeowner’s bill, usually from 60 to 70 percent of the total dollar amount.

The City of Joliet tax portion of the bill increased about 2.5 percent over last year. Dollar-wise like most municipal governments, it’s the next biggest cost on the bill. The city has some big money infrastructure projects presently being constructed and for the future. The sewer separation project and the train station are the biggest. They also plan to put artificial turf on the field of the baseball stadium. One small project recently completed was putting lights on the Joliet flag pavilions.

All of the U.S Flags now wave 24/7 with the proper illumination. Next time you go by one, take notice. Kudos and thanks for the effort of the mayor, the city council and staff at city hall for finally getting the project completed. A special thanks to the Fire Department personnel who have the responsibility of keeping the flags flying and raising and lowering them when appropriate.

Now if the new-to-be hired City Manager can be convinced that a flag pole with proper lighting should be erected in front of City Hall (not across the street at the police station) the project of flag display in Joliet will be thoroughly complete.

One last thing… last week I let readers know a new hot dog without nitrates, nitrites or artificial preservatives was being marketed by Oscar Mayer. The promise from OM was the cost would not increase and the hot dogs would have the same great taste. The good news is the product is in local supermarkets as promised without the ingredients they deemed undesirable at a comparable price to their previous hot dog product. Just in time for the start of summer which officially starts on June 21.

Coincidentally that is the date 229 years ago that the current U.S. Constitution, without any amendments, became effective. It was one year later that James Madison introduced the Bill of Rights amendments in the House of Representatives.

That may seem like a heavy load to put in the same column with hot dogs, but sometimes it’s comforting to enjoy the simpler pleasures of life among such complicated surroundings.

Stay tuned…

Contact Wayne’s Words at wayneswords@thetimesweekly.com