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Archive for the ‘Property Taxes’ Category

ethics

Last Winter, the Village of Lake Barrington published the following in their seasonal newsletter:

Lake Barrington’s Ethics Commission

Did you know that the Village has an Ethics Commission? The independent commission adds to the overall transparency of our government and serves to investigate complaints alleging violations of the Ethics Chapter of the Village Code. We are proud to report that this 3-member Commission has never once had to meet regarding a violation!”

Their Municipal Code actually devotes a chapter to ethics, and the main page of their website contains a link to, “Report a Concern.”

As previously chronicled in this publication, if one searches our Village Code, keying in the word “ethics,” the result reads, “No Matches Found.”

Our Village needs an Ethics Commission.  How else could parties involved in complaints present their respective cases to determine if ethics violations did, or did not, occur? Listed below are typical practices that might arise in our Village, and in our opinion, may warrant investigation, understanding that there are no implications as to guilt or innocence of any on the list:

  • Should expensive legal battles, possibly precipitated by actions of elected and appointed Village officials, be investigated?
  • Should the hiring and retention of Village paid staff positions by elected family members be investigated?
  • Should contracts with vendors who maintain personal and professional relationships with elected Village officials and their families be investigated?
  • Should the solicitations of funds and hand selection of vendors by family members or close friends of elected Village officials, absent oversight by appointed Village committees, be investigated?

For these and other reasons, our Village needs to appoint an Ethics Commission to act as ombudsmen, when any question of potential maladministration or ethics violations is considered or occurs.

Candidates for this proposed commission could come from existing appointed Village bodies, ones whose objectivity would be unquestioned.

The perfect candidates for this roll are the incumbent members of the Board of Heath.  They are highly qualified, underutilized, and would prove to be an effective force in maintaining ethical governance of the Village of Barrington Hills.

Related:Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 1),” “Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 2),” “Better Government Association Commends Passage of Chicago Ethics Ordinance–Sees More to Do,” “What happened to ethics reform in Illinois government? Why watchdogs have some hope,” “Meanwhile, One Barrington Hills makes amends, extinguishes website and turns the volume down,” “Learn from your (big) mistake, Laura, Bryan, Dave and Tom,” “Agreed

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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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220 Books

Just last week in Barrington, the school board voted to keep “Flame” and “This Book Is Gay,” two books about gender and sexuality. In a 4-3 vote, the board ultimately accepted a recommendation by a school advisory committee of experts to keep the books after determining they didn’t meet the standard for obscenity and pornography.

A glass shelf displaying some of the most notable challenged books in the country adorns the entryway of the Chicago Public Library’s Lincoln Belmont branch. The books are surrounded by yellow tape and red signs that inevitably steer the attention of those who walk inside to the titles that have been banned, or attempted to be banned, in other libraries across the country.

But instead of taking the books off the shelves, visitors at the library were invited — in celebration of Banned Book Week 2022 — to learn about each one of them and encourage discussions about the topics for which they were banned. City Lit Theater Company joined the efforts by presenting a theatrical display of iconic banned and challenged books, allowing people to make their own decision on whether to read them.

Last week, city and Chicago Public Library officials declared Chicago a sanctuary city for those stories, by establishing “Book Sanctuaries” across the city’s 77 distinct community areas and 81 library branches. That entails a commitment to expand local access to banned or challenged books through library programming.

Meanwhile, attempts to ban books across the country — including in suburban Illinois — are escalating at a rate never seen since the American Library Association began tracking data more than 20 years ago, according its most recent report.

Just last week in Barrington, the school board voted to keep “Flame” and “This Book Is Gay,” two books about gender and sexuality.

In a 4-3 vote, the board ultimately accepted a recommendation by a school advisory committee of experts to keep the books after determining they didn’t meet the standard for obscenity and pornography.

Erin Chan Ding, a board member, said the removal of the books could potentially impact young people that could identify as LGBTQ students. And though the books may have strong imagery and words, it should be up to parents if their children read them.

In August, Barrington school board members also voted to keep “Gender Queer” in the Barrington High School library.

“We’re making these books available, but we’re not actively incorporating the books that were challenged into the curriculum,” said Chan Ding, a mother to an eight and a fourth grader.

As a mother, she said, she understands that some parents question the books and want to prevent access to them. “I have empathy for parents who disagree with our decision and I acknowledge and fully recognize that there’s a full spectrum of opinions. … It is a parent’s responsibility and role to do what is best for their own child but that doesn’t mean restricting access to other people.”

Read more here.

Related: District 220 posts April 2023 Election Candidate’s Guide,District 220 Board of Education meets tonight

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Election Illinois Voting

Passage of Amendment 1, on the November ballot, would put Illinoisans’ pocketbooks at risk of another hit during a time when it is already difficult to make ends meet.

You may wonder why anyone would be against the proposed change to the Illinois Constitution at the top of the Nov. 8 ballot that proponents call the “Workers’ Rights Amendment.”

Don’t ask me — ask Deb Cohorst.

Cohorst is a mother, grandmother, retiree and resident of Effingham, Illinois. For now. If the deceptively dubbed “Workers’ Rights Amendment,” or Amendment 1, passes, Cohorst might be forced to leave the state she has called home for almost 40 years.

“My husband and I really don’t want to leave, but we may not have a choice,” Cohorst said. “This amendment would be devastating to not only my family but any family.”

Why? Amendment 1 is a potential property tax hike in disguise that could hurt low-income families and seniors on fixed incomes. In a state that leads the nation in foreclosures, homeowners can’t afford higher costs.

Amendment 1 would allow government union bosses to collectively bargain over new, broad contract topics such as “economic welfare,” which could include anything from affordable housing to preventing advancements in technology. The more subjects available for government unions to bargain over and the longer negotiations take, the greater the potential cost to all Illinois workers — which would be reflected in higher property tax bills.

In Cook County, the median homeowner could pay at least an additional $2,935 in property taxes during the next four years if voters approve Amendment 1. In Cohorst’s home of Effingham County, property taxes on the typical home would rise by $743.

Property taxes already eat up approximately 7% of Cohorst’s fixed income. Increases make life in Illinois less feasible for her family.

“It scares me we may have to move,” she said. “I have friends in neighboring states, and they cannot believe what we’re paying in property taxes. I am paying more for the property tax on my half-acre lot than my three out-of-state friends’ property taxes combined.”

Read the full Chicago Sun*Times opinion here.

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220 Books

The 220 Board of Education will consider upholding the recommendation of these two books tonight.

The District 220 Board of Education meets this evening at 7:00 PM at the District Administration Center, 515 W. Main Street. Topics for discussion in their agenda include:

  • Consideration to Approve the Adoption of the 2022-23 Budget
  • Consideration to Uphold the Recommendation of the District Level Review of Materials – Flamer
  • Consideration to Uphold the Recommendation of the District Level Review of Materials – This Book Is Gay

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here.

The meeting will be livestreamed on the district YouTube channel.

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BCFPD Hummer

The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District (BCFPD) Board of Trustees meets tonight at 6:30 PM at 22222 N. Pepper Road in Lake Barrington.  A copy of their agenda can be viewed here

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51-Burkes

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Burke will retire Nov. 30, allowing her replacement to be appointed rather than elected. Her husband, Chicago Ald. Ed Burke, faces reelection in February and a corruption trial in late 2023.

Anne Burke’s term as Illinois Supreme Court chief justice ends Oct. 25 and then she’ll retire Nov. 30, with six years left on her term.

Justice Joy Cunningham was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Burke, according to the Illinois Supreme Court. Cunningham’s term begins Dec. 1 and runs through 2024, giving her two years on the high court before she faces election.

Illinois is one of only two states allowing their supreme courts to appoint interim judges, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Of the seven justices on the Illinois Supreme Court, six were appointed before their first elections.

Burke’s retirement will still involve legal proceedings as her husband faces a federal racketeering trial. Anne Burke is married to the longest-serving alderman in Chicago’s history, Ward 14 Ald. Ed Burke, who’s been in office since 1969. His trial is set for Nov. 6, 2023, but his next election is Feb. 28, 2023.

Ed Burke won re-election in February 2019 shortly after he was accused of multiple extortion attempts. For the second time, Ed Burke will face re-election while he’s the subject of a federal corruption probe. He’s seeking a 14th term.

Ed Burke was indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic added multiple delays to the proceedings. Pretrial motions from August 2020 didn’t get a ruling until this past June.

Ed Burke is charged with extorting two Burger King executives into using his law firm, Klafter & Burke. When they took their business elsewhere, an employee from Burke’s office said they’d resort to “hardball.”

Read on here.

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RCBHEC

The Barrington Hills Park District Board will hold their regular monthly meeting this evening in person and via Zoom at 7:00 PM.  A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.

Instructions accessing the meeting remotely can be found here.

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VBH ping

The Village Finance Committee meets today at 2 PM.  A copy of the agenda can be viewed and downloaded here.

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220mm

Martin McLaughlin’s public comments to the District 220 Board of Education Tuesday night were followed by applause from attendees.

Speaking as a parent of five children, Martin McLaughlin voiced the following Tuesday evening during public comment at the District 220 Board of Education meeting:

“My name is Martin McLaughlin

I am here tonight as a parent. I live in Barrington Hills. I have had four children go through District 220 school system I have a current sophomore in high school. My family has a 50 year history with this school district.

We have chosen to live here because the District has been a leader in academic excellence for many years.

In the past four to six years, I have been astonished at the level of outside influence that has been allowed to infiltrate our local school district and have impact on policies and curricula, all with the blessing and tacit approval of the majority of this and prior school boards.  And the results have not been good. 

Letters and requests by local blogs and special interest groups arrive every day to each of you, pushing their narrow agendas.  And believe me I get it.  I’ve been in your position, serving as an unpaid elected official for 8 years. I can’t tell you how many special interest groups I have had to say no to.

Allowing Non-Profits out of New York and DC lobbyists and unelected social justice and cultural change agents have an impact on our children’s education and development is what we expect you to protect against, not to embrace.

As a community member, I’d like to see the old 3Rs come back— Reading Writing and Arithmetic. Today unfortunately, our children are being taught a New 3Rs – Radicalization, Revisionist history and Racial divides and IT NEEDS TO STOP.

As far as the academic performance at District 220 in mathematics and reading, the failure rate has increased over 20% since 2019 —a direct result of the policies that kept our children remote and kept them out of the classrooms.

The use of our public education system or Misuse to forward and mandate moral and sociological standards is just wrong. How about we get proficient in math, reading and writing first?

There are places for these discussions to occur, but it’s not in chemistry, math or during PE. And it certainly shouldn’t be presented to minor children, particularly those in the lower grade levels.

We all agree it is not appropriate in public schools to discuss or push religious beliefs upon others, so why should it not be as equally inappropriate to discuss political leanings and further, to discuss age-inappropriate related materials to minor children?

Finally, as it relates to public safety and the public good, in my day public school safety meant putting mulch under the monkey bars in the playground, adding padded seats on the bus and making sure that bullying and physical harm did not occur to any students. 

Never in our wildest imaginations did we believe under the guise of public safety that our parental rights and obligations would be taken away by elected or appointed officials when it comes to the best decisions on children’s behalf regarding personal health decisions, cultural or social guidance, morality, traditional curricula or age-inappropriate content.

As a parent I ask that we please begin to focus once again on what’s most important for our community. Traditional academic-based performance standards which is why we all moved here in the first place and is why we all pay incredibly high taxes to support.

Thank you for your dedicated service.”

The video of McLaughlin’s comments can be found here. You decide which Board members listened.

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