Archive for the ‘Cook’ Category

CC Refund

Overpaid property taxes will be refunded to more than 53,000 county homeowners starting this week and continuing for the next three months, the Cook County Treasurer’s Office said Wednesday.

Cook County homeowners who overpaid their property tax bill last year can expect to receive automatic refunds over the next three months.

More than $47 million in overpaid property taxes will be refunded to more than 53,000 county homeowners starting this week, the Cook County treasurer’s office announced Wednesday.

The automatic refunds are for property owners who overpaid on their 2021 first installment taxes, which were due in the first half of 2022.

Homeowners can check if they are getting a refund at cookcountytreasurer.com.

Read more here.

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Fifty to 60 years ago, when today’s older farmers were growing up, there were many more bobolinks, eastern meadowlarks and Henslow’s sparrows in northern Illinois.

The disappearance of pastureland and the decline in hay fields accounts for the sharp decline in the grassland bird populations.

John Strauser, a farm researcher, studied livestock grazing when he was in graduate school at the University of Illinois. Strauser told The Center Square that grazing cattle and dairy herds on pastureland restores habitat that the birds need.

“Cattle grazing and dairy-cow pasturing create desirable habitat conditions for various kinds of birds,” Strauser said in his graduate school study Returning Marginal Lands to Forage Production.

Birds need a complex landscape that has short grasses and long grasses and different species and different fauna and flora, Strauser said.

Farmers are aware of the disappearing numbers of birds, and they are enthusiastic about doing what they can, he said. Strauser has found that farmers are open to discussing the benefits of grazing and foraging.

Read more here.

Related:Bison grazing for grassland bird habitat,” “Grant helps fund Bison grazing area upgrades

Editorial note: Would Horizon Farm be a suitable candidate for populating a small quantity of bison? 

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Public can enjoy miles of trails for walking, biking, equestrian use and more

The Forest Preserves of Cook County has fully opened Horizon Farm preserve in Barrington Hills for public use, including the introduction of several official trails available for pedestrian, biking and equestrian use. In 2023, the Forest Preserves will continue to gather input and present a long-term comprehensive plan for the nearly 400-acre site.

The northernmost section of Horizon Farm, approximately 40 percent of the property, has been open to visitors since November 2021. Since gaining full possession of Horizon Farm in 2019, the Forest Preserves has created new trails and addressed maintenance and safety issues for public use, including demolition of more than 20 buildings that were beyond their useful life—in some cases in deep disrepair.

“Every decade for more than 100 years, the Forest Preserves of Cook County has added to its holdings of public lands that are a home for native plants and wildlife and a resource for the people of Cook County. We are pleased to announce that now, the public can fully explore Horizon Farm. Our long-term plans for the site are still a work in progress, but now visitors can go further and do more,” said Arnold Randall, General Superintendent of the Forest Preserves of Cook County

A former equestrian estate, the Horizon Farm property is the largest purchase of land by the Forest Preserves since 1968. The site features meadows, wetlands and small streams, as well as open habitat for grassland birds. As of December 30, 2022, Horizon Farm is available sunrise to sunset for activities like hiking, birdwatching, photography, horseback riding and cross-country skiing.

In addition to opening the southern section of the property, the December 30 opening includes a new 1.2-mile loop trail and a spur connection to the Riding Club of Barrington Hills trail to the west. With the introduction of official Forest Preserves trails, equestrian use is now allowed in Horizon Farm. Some segments of the site will occasionally be closed for further trail improvements in 2023. The buildings that currently remain on the property include a garage for Forest Preserves maintenance needs, a barn at the main parking lot and a small corn crib that was once used as an office by a previous owner.

The Forest Preserves process to create a master plan for Horizon Farm will reconvene with key stakeholders in early 2023 with the goal of completing a draft for presentation to the public in the summer of 2023. The master plan will include plans for the remaining facilities on the site and a completed trail system, as well as strategies for investment in visitor amenities, promotion of ecological restoration efforts, and how to expand and deepen partnerships with local stakeholders.


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2023 Calendar

The Forest Preserves 2023 Wall Calendar is now available

In this Issue:

  • Increasing Connections to Nature: Trickster Cultural Center and the Forest Preserves
  • 2023 Wall Calendars Now Available
  • New Position Paper on Diversity and Inclusion
  • Latest News: New Funding, Amendments Accepted for FY 2023 Budget; Five Fun Facts about Chipmunks; Year-end Donations to the Forest Preserve Foundation Help Sustain the Preserves You Love; Watch Social Media for Winter Pop-up Programs
  • Upcoming Events
  • Volunteer Opportunities

Click here to view the latest.

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VBH Water

Barrington Hills homeowners in Cook County saw the highest median property tax increases in 2022 thanks to (wait for it)…

About a quarter of homeowners in North and Northwest suburban Cook County saw their property taxes decrease in 2022, while only 7.8% of commercial properties experienced declines.

An analysis by Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas’ office shows commercial properties bore the heavier burden of the nearly $94 million increase in property taxes in the North and Northwest suburbs this year.

Four Northwest suburbs saw their median residential tax grow by more than $200 this year:

  • Barrington Hills, where the median increased by $259 to $15,251.
  • South Barrington, where the median rose by $233 to $15,631.
  • Prospect Heights, where the median grew by $228 to $4,853.
  • Barrington, where the median rose $207 to $8,246.

Barrington Unit School District 220, which overlaps three of those municipalities, voted to increase its total tax levy by $5.4 million for the current academic year.

Read the full Daily Herald story here.

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Hart Road between County Line Road and Northwest Highway in Barrington will reopen Tuesday, village officials announced. The road has been closed since June for a $3 million Lake County Department of Transportation project that included construction of a new bridge over Flint Creek. (John Starks | Staff Photographer, June 2022)

Hart Road between Lake-Cook Road and Northwest Highway in Barrington will reopen to traffic Tuesday, almost two weeks ahead of the original target date of Nov. 4, village officials announced.

The road, which travels along the west side of Barrington High School, has been closed since June for a $3 million Lake County Division of Transportation project that included construction of a new bridge over Flint Creek. Work crews also removed three aging metal culverts and added a bike path along the east side of the road.

Village officials said Hart Road still needs a second layer of asphalt. Paving operations will take place after school traffic wraps up in the mornings. The road will remain open during paving, but delays will occur.

More here.

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Early voting begins tomorrow for the November 8, 2022 General Election. Polling locations, by county are:

For general voting information, visit the Cook, Kane, Lake or McHenry County Clerk’s website.

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The Barrington Hills Park District posted the following yesterday:


To The Residents Of The Barrington Hills Park District Cook, Lake and McHenry Counties, Illinois

Elections will be held to fill the following offices at the:

Consolidated election to be held April 4, 2023.

Park District CommissionerNumber of positions (3); 4-year term.

Signature Requirements: Petition must be signed by not less than 2% of the number of ballots cast at the last election for Park District Commissioner.

Petition Circulation: September 20, 2022: First day to circulate nomination papers.

Consolidated Election Candidate FilingMonday, December 12, 2022*: First day for candidates to file the original nominating petitions (must include original sheets signed by voters and circulators) with the Barrington Hills Park District representative at the Barrington Hills Riding Center, Meeting Room, 361 Bateman Road, Barrington Hills IL 60010.

General Filing Information: Petitions may be filed in person by the candidate or a representative, or by mail. Barrington Hills Park District c/o Kim Keper, 364 Bateman Road, Barrington, IL 60010.

Please note: Nomination papers received in the mail before the first day of filing period will be returned to the sender as not filed.

Filing Period: Mon, Dec 12: 9:00 AM* to 1:00 PM

Wed, Dec 14: 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Fri,    Dec 16:  9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Mon, Dec 19: 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM

*Ballot Placement Lottery: If two or more petitions are received simultaneously for the same office (a) as of the opening hour of the filing period, December 12, 2022; and/or (b) within the last hour of the filing period, Dec 19 2023.

Ballot Placement Lottery, if needed, is scheduled for Wednesday, December 22, 2022, noon at 361 Bateman Road, Barrington Hills, IL 60010.

Candidate document and filing information is available on the web: www.elections.il.gov


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Christmas Taxes

Happy holidays, Cook County homeowners! The second installment of your property tax bills will arrive around Thanksgiving. They won’t be due until after Christmas but before New Year’s.

Cook County residents can expect their property tax bills to arrive around Thanksgiving with an estimated return date of Dec. 31, 2022, leaving just enough time for Illinoisans to claim federal deductions, a county spokesperson said.

The second installment of property taxes will likely be mail out more than three months after the bill typically comes due Aug. 1. The delay follows a flood of new appeals and computer complications at the assessor’s office.

Cook County Board spokesman Nick Shields on Sept. 26 said the more than $16 billion in backlogged bills will be collected by “the end of 2022.”

“As each step in the process is completed, we will better understand the bill’s mail date and, subsequently, the due date,” Shields told the Chicago Sun-Times. “We remain confident that their commitment to a due date of 2022 will be realized.”

County leaders said appealing, reviewing and mailing these bills to homeowners could still take more than a month to complete as the county assessor finishes final appeals. Taxpayers will then have a minimum of 30 days to pay once their bill is received.

Issuing these property taxes in late November leaves Cook County homeowners with little more than a month to pay the taxes and claim the local deductions on their 2022 individual federal tax returns.

Second installments were paid by Aug. 1 in every year since 2011, until the onset of the pandemic. The first installment of property tax bills in 2023 is expected to be due March 1.

Illinois was home to the nation’s second-highest property taxes in 2021. Now rampant inflation is giving local taxing bodies the power to raise rates by 5%.

Property owners face another tax threat on Nov. 8: Amendment 1.

Read more here.

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CC Taxes

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi and County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Property tax bills should land in mailboxes across Cook County around the same time as holiday cards, with second installment payments expected to come due before the end of the year, county officials said.

County board President Toni Preckwinkle in July announced second-installment bills, which for nearly a decade had arrived in August, would fall months late because of delays with the assessment process and a computer system upgrade.

With little over three months left in 2022, several steps in the multiagency process of tabulating and mailing out bills are as-yet incomplete. Still, the relay race of calculating, mailing and collecting bills was on pace to be complete by “the end of 2022,” Preckwinkle spokesman Nick Shields said Monday.

For the full story, visit chicago.suntimes.com.

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