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A Cook County assessor’s report on 2019 property reassessments in the North and Northwest suburbs says efforts to improve taxpayer equity and fairness have been undone to some degree by Board of Review rulings on commercial property owners’ appeals.

Those properties have been underassessed by an average of 40% in past years, shifting more of the tax burden on to homeowners, the assessor’s office argues.

“A minority of people in Cook County use the appeals process, and this minority tends to have the most wealth, knowledge of the system’s quirks and weaknesses, and resources to navigate avenues to appeal,” Assessor Fritz Kaegi writes in his introduction to the report. “The aggregate effect of appeals from this minority is to reduce its share of the base, thus shifting more of the responsibility for property taxes to everyone else.”

But Board of Review Commissioner Michael Cabonargi said Kaegi’s pursuit of a preconceived outcome — that the tax burden should be shifted away from residential properties — is a fundamental flaw of his argument.

While it’s the role of the assessor’s office to establish criteria at the macro level, the Board of Review decides appeals based on specific properties and specific circumstances, he added.

“If he’s saying people don’t have the right to appeal, that’s something we’re going to disagree on,” Cabonargi said. “It’s a healthy but natural conflict that we’re going to review his work.”

Read more here.

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The Illinois Department of Transportation posted an update last month on the progress of the proposed widening of the IL 25 to 68 corridor of Route 62 in Barrington Hills. A copy of their report can be viewed and downloaded here.

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Here is what you need to know about the coronavirus in Illinois, what you can do to stop it from spreading, and what steps state and local governments have or have not taken in response.

Entire state hits Tier 3 lockdown, masks mandated until June 3

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Jan. 3 continued his mask mandate and social distancing requirements for another 150 days. Masks must be worn indoors as well as outdoors if a six-foot distance cannot be maintained. The orders are possible because he issued 11 disaster declarations as a result of COVID-19.

Illinoisans were all being urged to work from home and limit unnecessary travel starting Nov. 20. Tier 3 mitigations were imposed statewide, including a statewide ban on indoor dining and bars, ban on indoor group recreation and other restrictions on retail, fitness centers, offices and other indoor facilities.

Read an enlightening article from Illinois Policy here.

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One of the Fox River Valley Libraries’ newest collections for 2021 is Student Hotspots. These Wi-Fi hotspots will be checked out to students for an entire semester. The hotspots were purchased with CARES Act funds so students have reliable internet service in their home for remote learning. They are now available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Patrons must have a valid student ID and a Fox River Valley Public Library District library card to check out student hotspots. While the library buildings are closed, students or their parents/guardians can simply show a valid student ID during curbside pickup at the Dundee Library, 555 E. Barrington Ave., East Dundee.

Student hotspot loan periods are:

  • Spring semester: Jan. 1 to May 31
  • Summer semester: June 1 to Aug. 31
  • Fall semester: Sept. 1 to Dec. 31

Only one hotspot per household. Student hotspots do not accrue late fees. Student hotspots are not eligible for home delivery.

If a hotspot is needed for a specific semester, patrons can set the hold activation date for the beginning of that semester when placing the hold.

Hotspots can be accessed in the library’s online catalog at www.frvpld.info.

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Speed cameras located near schools and parks in Chicago will begin ticketing drivers for going 6-10 miles per hour over the limit starting in March, officials said Monday.

Beginning January 15, drivers spotted going 6-10 mph over the limit in so-called “Children’s Safety Zones” will receive a warning by mail. This “warning period” lasts until March 1, after which speeding drivers will get a $35 ticket in the mail instead.

Areas which have a speed camera are marked by signs and usually have a limit of around 30 mph, with those found near schools generally enforced from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. while those in park zones are often active from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., 365 days a year.

Cameras use 3D tracking radar to identify any cars traveling faster than the posted speed limit before capturing an image of the vehicle.

Previously, drivers would only receive a ticket for going 10 mph over the limit, while those found going 11 mph or more over the limit will continue receiving a $100 ticket.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot included “enhanced fine enforcement” changing the cameras’ limits as part of a budget which aimed to address the city’s $1.2 billion shortfall.

Read more here.

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Only three new laws will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021, because the Legislature’s sessions were nearly wiped out by the pandemic.

When a new year begins in Illinois, there typically are dozens if not hundreds of new laws going into effect.

Not this year. Like so many other things in 2020, the legislative spring session was stunted by COVID-19. Once the global pandemic reached Illinois in March, the General Assembly would meet for only four more days — wrapping up the odd session during masked and socially distanced gatherings at the Capitol and Bank of Springfield Center. The fall veto session was scrapped altogether.

As a result, only three new laws will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021. Here’s a look at them as well as the next increase in the minimum wage that will be applied Friday:

  • Insulin costs cap
  • Use of DNA in missing person cases, and
  • Keeping victims’ addresses confidential

Read the explanation of each in the Chicago Sun*Times here.

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Even subtracting COVID-19 deaths, Illinois still suffered its largest population drop in modern history in the first year of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s fiscal policies, including 20 new tax and fee hikes, as well as his pandemic response.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Illinois recorded a seventh straight year of population loss, but the drop was historic – 79,487 residents from July 2019 to July 2020, the most since World War II and the second largest of any state in raw numbers or percentage of population.

Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau Dec. 22 shows only New York lost a greater number or share of residents during the year.

The data marks the seventh consecutive year Illinois has experienced population decline, the longest streak in state history. That streak is the second-longest in the nation, behind only West Virginia, which has battled population decline for eight consecutive years. Meanwhile, Connecticut is the only other state to experience seven consecutive years of population decline. However, Illinois holds the distinct title of suffering the most consecutive years of worsening population decline, being the only state where population loss has accelerated each year for the past seven years.

Read more here.

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Ralph Martire’s Dec. 6 op-ed got it all wrong, as did Pritzker and the Illinois Democratic legislature (Republicans are irrelevant in Illinois).

Mr. Martire claims the money spent by a few billionaires sold Illinoisans a bill of goods, and thus the “fair tax” amendment failed.

He doesn’t mention Pritzker and others spent as much pushing the graduated income tax.

The reason it didn’t pass is simple: Illinoisans have been bamboozled by our Democrat-controlled government many times before (bond issues placed to shore up the huge state pension deficit with the money raised being spent elsewhere, etc.)

Illinoisans rightfully don’t trust their state legislature.

The amount that would have been raised wouldn’t even cover the current year’s deficit.

Illinoisans knew in future years taxes of every kind, on everyone, would be raised.

We want to see fiscal responsibility in government and we want control of our state’s budget to be taken back from the public employee unions.

As long as Democrats buckle to those unions, a graduated income tax in Illinois should never pass.

Over several decades, Texas passed amendments to its constitution that include a debt limit, a welfare spending limit, a pay-as-you-go limit and a limit on the growth of certain appropriations.

I will continue to vote against it until it is presented in a fiscally responsible package of amendments to the Illinois Constitution.

W. Andrew Wright, Barrington Hills

Source

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The Village Board of Trustees will be holding their monthly meeting this evening at 6:30 PM. Some of the topics for discussion and/or vote include:

  • [Vote] A Resolution Approving the Execution of an Intergovernmental Agreement with Cook County for the Donlea Road Drainage Investigation Resolution 20 –
  • [Vote] A Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of ALPR Equipment and Related Services and Software for use by the Village Police Department Resolution 20 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Granting an Amendment to the Existing Special Use Permit for an Expansion of the Parking Lot at 160 Hawthorne Road Ordinance 20 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Adopting by Reference of the Lake County Watershed Development Ordinance 20 –
  • [Vote] A Resolution Consenting to an Amendment of the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions and Easements for Hurstbourne Subdivision Resolution 20 –
  • [Vote] Resolution of Proclamation Congratulating Janet Agnoletti Upon Her Retirement From the Barrington Area Council of Governments Res 20 –

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here. Those wishing to try to listing in on the meeting can phone 508-924-1464.

Related: Mosque replica planned for 160 Hawthorne Road?,” “Cook County to investigate Donlea Road flooding problems

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Petition for referendum certified this week, McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio says

Algonquin Township voters will decide whether to abolish the local government unit in the April election after a petition for a referendum on the matter was certified by McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio and the township clerk’s office this week.

An effort to gather township voter signatures to get the referendum on the ballot was initiated by McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally and former McHenry County Board Chairman and state legislator Jack Franks.

The petition was successful in gaining approval to head to voters in the spring, Tirio said Thursday, and will appear on the ballot barring any formal objections or legal actions taken by voters to prevent that from happening.

The petition required signatures from 445 township voters to be certified for the upcoming election, and those gathering the signatures were led in part by McHenry Township Trustee Bob Anderson, a longtime critic of the township form of government who is seeking to consolidate the township he helps lead.

Anderson said almost 100 signatures more than necessary were turned into the township clerk and county clerk offices.

The ballot measure will offer the latest test case for how McHenry County residents feel about the framework for township abolition set up by a state bill sponsored by state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, that was signed into law last year. McSweeney decided against running for another term this past November.

Read more here.

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