Residents Will Have to Pay More in Real Estate Taxes

Aldermen were split 4-to-2 in the vote to approve the levy, which raises real estate taxes for Oak Forest residents by about $27. The levy includes a $500,000 payment into the city's reserve fund, with a goal of reaching $3.5 million in reserves by

Oak Forest residents will have to shell out more of their hard-earned cash in taxes, after aldermen approved the 2012 tax levy. Residents in Oak Forest will pay about an additional $27 to the city in real estate tax due to the levy.

The levy, which totals $8 million, is 3.08 percent—or $240,031—higher than last year's levy, said city Finance Director Colleen Julian. The city arrived at that number after several meetings and by taking into account factors such as a deficiency in the general fund balance, city employee wages and other issues.

“The 3 percent presented today will sustain the 117 full-time employees that are currently in the budget,” Julian said. “It has a $500,000 surplus that is intended to go into reserves, to build our reserves, so that we show fiscal soundness for our credit rating agencies.”

The $500,000 addition to the surplus would leave a resulting fund balance of $2.4 million by the end of the 2014 fiscal year. Julian said the goal is to have the fund balance at $3.5 million by fiscal year 2016.

Though the city council approved the levy, it was with some disappointment, as Alderman Dan Ensing voiced his displeasure with not being able to lower the number.

“The only thing that disappoints me, is that after four meetings we didn't move anywhere on this,” he said. “We're setting aside 50 percent of the 1 percent sales tax that we raised for operating expenses and we're not using that at this point.”

He added that he hoped the city would be able to use that money to help out homeowners and reduce taxes. Alderman Rich Simon echoed Ensing's statements to the council.

“Now we passed the sales tax last year, which I thought was going to be used towards the levy, in order not to have a tax increase again this year,” Simon said. “I would very much have preferred a 2-percent increase and by using some of the sales tax we could have gotten down close to that.”

Julian said that her hope was that once the city reaches its financial reserves, the city will not have to levy the $500,000. She said the money could then be used for capital improvements and the city could issue a bond for debt service.

“That's my longterm goal,” Julian said.

Alderman Chuck Toland pointed out that the 3.08 percent increase only covers the 'status quo' within the city and nothing extra, calling it the fiscally responsible thing to do.

“It's not covering any extra bells and whistles,” he said. “The department heads wanted other stuff, but at this time it's the fiscally responsible thing to do, instead of pushing it off.”

He added that once the city reaches its reserve goal, the $500,000 could be a funding source for the city.

Aldermen passed the levy 4-to-2; Aldermen Simon and Ensing were the dissenting votes.


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GS December 20, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Told you that they would continue to spend and then raise taxes again! When will you learn that you have to cut spending to balance a budget. Vote these people out if you want change instead of just being shepple.
Richard DeVries December 20, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Hopefully i can sell my house soon...I'm out of here
Richard DeVries December 20, 2012 at 07:12 PM
But them again who wants to buy a house in a soon to be dead town
Janice Most December 20, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Wondering where they are going to use the $1MM in sales tax?
Mike December 20, 2012 at 08:30 PM
I am so tired of being nickled and dime to the poor house.......! People are hurting to pay the bills and all the politicians in this state can do is tax and tax and tax..... because they are crack addicts on our money... they can never cut (like our family house holds have had to do in the past 4 years). As soon as the housing market improves I am getting out of this state.... it is not only bankrupt its morally bankrupt.... and how anyone could keep voting for these irresponsible and corrupt politicians is beyond me...... this state is doomed.
DAVEY December 20, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Just moved to OF Have the taxes ever gone down?!?
Michael M. December 20, 2012 at 09:37 PM
City council meetings are the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. The next one is Jan. 8th. I hope to see many of you there.
Michael M. December 20, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Nope, taxes never go down anywhere if it is left to the politicians.
Mike December 20, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Taxes could and should go down..... Crestwood did it... and many other towns around the country have done it..... so can we.... but our politicians are TAX addicts and addicted to spending.... "Liberalism is FUN until you run out of other peoples money"
P.J.Kneisler December 20, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Is the Council trying to drive more residents out of our town? With house values still low, costs of living going up, and incomes stagnant, it seems to me that they should be finding creative ways to live within current revenue levels - just as most households are doing. Enough of elected politicians thinking they have unfettered access to our hard-earned money. I'm totally ready to sell my home ASAP and move to a more tax friendly area.
Mike Fangman December 20, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Remember what your taxes pay for. They pay for police, road repair and various other municipal services.
Mike Fangman December 20, 2012 at 10:24 PM
If you don't like it, vote them out.
Mike December 20, 2012 at 10:50 PM
But a lot of taxes are waisted.... the people in this state have become to complacent on how (there) hard earned money is being spent...! People are tired of being asked to "tighten your belt" over and over again, I have had enough.... I work hard for my money and I am tired of it being waisted by greedy politicians who do not care on how they spend other peoples money. Fact is you can only tax so much before the people leave..... or revolt....! and its getting close to both.
Michael M. December 20, 2012 at 11:05 PM
This tax is to cover deficits from overspending. As the article says, "to build our reserves, so that we show fiscal soundness for our credit rating agencies.” That means they are in danger of losing their credit rating. Just like you would if you spent too much and couldn't pay your credit card. Stop the facade improvement program and cut other wasteful spending.
Tired of the B.S. December 20, 2012 at 11:09 PM
In Oak Forest, taxes also pay for the beautification of a retention pond behind the mayor's house, purchasing property that nobody else wanted, hiring the mayors buddy at over $100,000 a year .....and the list keeps growing. Don't forget the department heads want more "stuff" for their departments. I have talked with city employees and one of the things that I find disturbing is that if a department has money left over near the end of a budget year, they will spend that money on whatever so their budget will not be cut in the following years. What is the most sickening to me is the exorbitant salaries we are paying to anyone that works for the city. Just look at some of these numbers (rounded to nearest $1000.00): City Collector- $110,000 Finance Director- $122,000 City Administrator- $128,000 Network Administrator-$94,000 Building Commissioner- $101,000 Fire Chief- $136,000 22 Fireman/paramedics- average over $80,000 39 Police - average over $80,000 14 Maintenance Workers- average over $80,000 2 Mechanics- both over $90,000 3 Water Plant Operators- over $90,000 We are a small town but we are paying big town salaries to our city employees. A lot of you may not believe these numbers, but look for yourself, here is the link: http://www.oak-forest.org/assets/documents/05-02-12%20OF%20Employee%20Compensation%20PA97-609%20%28Final%20for%20Posting%29.pdf
Mike December 20, 2012 at 11:30 PM
So Oak Forest is almost in the same boat as our Broken county government and our bankrupt state...! thats just great.... as our property value keeps going down and crimes in the town going up....! wont be long before we are Detroit...! sorry if I seem upset and negative but I am just fed with politicians taking my hard earned money (that I could use for my kids college or my retirement ) being squandered to pay for elaborate public sector compensation packages and retirements (thats never available to the private sector) .... But I am fortunate, I can leave this state because I work from home...... I feel sorry for the ones who punch a clock and cant leave because they work in a brick and mortar building....! But then we are the ones to blame ultimately because we voted them in....! as they lie and say they are for the midddle class...! what a joke..!
Mike December 20, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Tired of the B.S. thanks for your input.....! you have just confirmed what I have been raging about...! they could privatize a lot of the city services .... they can cut but they need to keep feeding the beast.... THIS IS SICK....!
Mike Ziak December 20, 2012 at 11:51 PM
But, but, but, that's what we were told the 1% tax in July was for. Do you mean they lied to us???? Maybe if they wouldn't have gone out and spent like drunken sailors the day after they passed that tax, they would have some more in reserve.
larry tobleck December 21, 2012 at 12:58 AM
If all it takes together the money for a reserve fund, into have 6 people vote for it as a majority, my neighbors and I have voted to charge the City of Oak Forest, Cook County and the state of Illinois, $500,000.00 each for our reserve funds, so we can maintain our homes in this area.
larry tobleck December 21, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Forgot to add, please pay ASAP, as we currently have no reserve funds as you have all taken any extra money we have, thru tax increases and fees.
larry tobleck December 21, 2012 at 01:09 AM
We had a chance to do that in November, except for me all others voted for the same crap that we had before, and now you are complaining. Look at Bobby Rush, Jessie Jr, and all the other democrats that won by landslides and look what they have given us over the years, higher taxes, lower property values, best paid public service employees in the country, you name it we have paid for the stuff we are complaining about and then refuse to vote them out.
Mike Fangman December 21, 2012 at 02:25 AM
The answer is simple: VOTE THEM OUT.
Michael M. December 21, 2012 at 04:06 AM
If you look at the benefits, they have a much larger salary.
Michael M. December 21, 2012 at 04:08 AM
We could vote them out if OF wasn't so full of low-information no-information voters.
Janice Most December 21, 2012 at 05:07 AM
Can't vote them out if mo one runs against them. Anyone who wants to do so has until 12/26 to file their petitions.
phxdr December 21, 2012 at 07:53 AM
I have stated time after time after time that this is never ending in Oak Forest. Vehicles are given to employees for personal use...and we pay for it. Salaries that are just out of this world for employees. Most of us who are paying these salaries do not make that much in this town.
Rob December 21, 2012 at 01:44 PM
The kid has 3 more years of HS at Tinley Park and then it's off to Indiana. Could the tax men of Illinois, cRook county, and now Oak Forest please say "Stick'em up" when the bills come so I know I'm being robbed!
Michael M. December 21, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Wait until the city and state institute an exit tax. They will still get you even if you do decide to leave.
Tired of the B.S. December 21, 2012 at 06:32 PM
At least that would be the last time.
joe orb March 02, 2013 at 12:44 AM
how can a public works employee make that much,there al,l way overpaid ...pretty sad thats the thanks the residents get i too will leave this city life with nothing to do here anyway.


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