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Readers React: Oak Forest Residents 'Mad as Hell' Over Sales Tax

Oak Forest residents are less than pleased after officials approved an additional 1 percent sales tax coming in July. What do you think?

Beginning July 1, shopping in Oak Forest is going to cost just a tad bit more. 

Aldermen Tuesday signed off 

Officials stated the tax is a "last resort" to recover from a $4.2 million shortfall in revenue citywide, over the last four years. Mayor Hank Kuspa said the aldermen refused to cut more staff or services that would impact the city—one suggested alternative to the tax. 

The tax could bring in as much as $1.1 million, which would help fill several roles essential to public safety and service.

Patch updated Facebook fans live from council chambers as the aldermen voted 5–0 (Aldermen Toland and Simon were absent)—and set off an avalanche of response. Below is a small sampling of what our fans had to say.

  • Danielle Abendroth said: Ugh. Really wish I didn't have to work so late so that I could have been there. So disappointed. This is not going to solve the problem. Nothing is ever enough for this city county and state.
  • Michael Master said: Will county here i come!
  • Jenelle LePinske Slaviero said: Way to push people out of Oak Forest! It's clear the people who voted yes are making too much money if they can afford this! How about all City officials take a pay cut!!!! Let's vote on that!
  • Brian Koehler said: Now that it has passed, we have two options: have a voice on how that additional money gets spent or vote these trustees out if you're unhappy. I can live with the increase but I want to know how that money gets spent. It's your money and mine so let's be more involved in how our money gets spent.
  • Mike Ziak said: Of course they're going to say that. Im sure that there has been numerous discussions on it, but since the majority of us do not have the time to attend every meeting or read through all of the minutes and agendas how are we to know?
  • Michael Merino said: Figures that the governed are not being listened to by the politicians. I think it is time that we change our city council. One step closer to running.
  • Ed Morris said: Hmm. Really interesting that this particular meeting wasn't broadcast live as most others are routinely. I personally expected Simon to vote against, but he wasn't there. And Toland, who is rather outspoken on the net, wasn't either. Why do I get a call about power aggregation via reverse-911 but not about a sales tax hike? How were the citizens notified by the city about this proposed change, and what timeline did this follow. Kinda fishy, eh?
  • Bill Wnenk said: I thought Oak Forest was trying to attract business not drive it away! Good incentive to start a new business
  • Tricia Booth Worthan said: And now more of us will shop in another town and Oak Forest businesses will lose more money and close down....seriously? How about getting rid of pensions and going to a 401K like most of the rest of us! Nobodys saving for MY future!
  • Richard D. Nowak said: On my way to Will and Kankakee County ~ Yippee-Kai-Yay Mo-Fo !

Where do you stand? What's your biggest concern about the tax?

Don't miss

Frank DeVries March 28, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Evey time they raise taxes out goes more businesses and tax paying home owners. First it was taxes on all phone, cable ,electric, gas and gasoline then 20 dollar tax on water bills. Now its another tax on everything you buy here in oak forest. They said no taxes on cars being bought , well thats because all the new car dealers have left town already. How many empty store fronts are there in OF . 30 TO 40 PERCENT IS WHAT IT IS.As soon as I can I am moving out of Illinos and crook county.
Erin March 28, 2012 at 01:11 PM
I will never spend a penny in Oak Forest again, real simple. Even items that are exempt i.e. presciptions I will fill elsewhere. I am so angry at this administration that I would pay 10.00 in gas just to save a dollar so OF doesn't get it, that's how angry this makes me. The businesses will not survive and this will be a complete ghost town.
Rich Worley Jr. March 28, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Cities are generally more corrupt than a village, town, etc. Oak forest should shrink its city govt. size like many others are doing, not add more taxes to already burdened residents!
Richard DeVries March 28, 2012 at 04:29 PM
well there goes the town. It's all down hill now. My house is going up for sale at the end of the month. This mayor and all the alderman should take a pay cut until this is cleared up. Dont buy stuff you cannot afford mayor. Stop using credit cards. If this town would look into Dave Ramsey they would be better off.
Richard DeVries March 28, 2012 at 04:30 PM
If you lower tax more people will shop here, thus bringing in more money. IDIOTS they are. they should tar and feathered
Richard DeVries March 28, 2012 at 04:31 PM
yep and the bad element will move in, Not that it's here already.
Richard DeVries March 28, 2012 at 04:33 PM
my van is right behind you Frank. I have already contacted a realtor. Might be awhile till it is sold. Because this town is a hard sell now
Richard DeVries March 28, 2012 at 04:33 PM
P.s great last name,lol
Frank DeVries March 28, 2012 at 05:46 PM
What they actualy get paid to run the city into the ground?
Michael M. March 28, 2012 at 06:11 PM
What do I have to do to run for Alderman? If you want something done right, do it yourself.
Scot March 28, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Do we really need alderman in our small town?? They get paid and insurance too. I think the alderman situation could ease the financial burden if we correct it. I know other towns got rid of top brass in public works departments. Too many bosses there making top dollar.
Scot March 28, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Lots of alternative ways to fix budget without raising taxes.
NANCY GRACE March 29, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Good idea Scot!
Richard DeVries March 29, 2012 at 10:58 AM
time to ax them all. combine wards get rid of some aldermen.Cut there pay,get rd of all the perks they may have. Time for a city revolt.Anyone say tea party
Ruth Ensing March 29, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Note for Tricia: Pensions are dictated by the State of Illinois and your state representatives should be contacted regarding this issue. No doubt ALL municipalities would love to switch to a 401k as it would save a huge amount of money. Police and fire have a guaranteed percentage and other city workers have IMRF - all state required. Teachers are another part of another pension mandated by the state.
Donald Vacha March 31, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Erin, I share your frustration. As a business owner in Oak Forest, I too am concerned with the negative impact this will have on both the city and my business. However, please keep something in mind. The schools, parks, libraries, and city services are funded predominantly from revenues generated by using local businesses. By not shopping locally, you are hurting not just the city of Oak Forest, but yourself and ultimately, your property values. Less shopping in Oak Forest means closing businesses. Less businesses means higher property taxes for homeowners, and less funding for schools, parks, etc.
Erin March 31, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Don, I get it, I really do but at this point I don't care. I've been a financial analyst for 20+ years so I understand the financial aspect. OF just raised my property taxes in December, they are paying people 6 figures to work for us and now they are screwing over the business owners. Although we have shopped at Vacha's in the past we will not continue to do so, for that I apologize to you but I will not give this administration another dime. If I am going to be taxed as though I live in Tiney Park I might as well move there, at least I get something for my money.
Michael M. March 31, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Mandated by the state because those unions lobbied for those laws. Laws can be changed, and many should be changed, the state is going to screw up these people out of money; they can't pay them what they don't have. lest we forget, they will just raise our taxes to make up for the shortfall. Ruth are you related to the 5th ward alderman?
Michael M. March 31, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Want to save money for OF, then stop hiring all these consulting firms. They tax us because OF is basically broke, yet they approve more spending. I think my head is going to explode. http://oakforest.patch.com/articles/city-council-approves-water-consultation-spending?ncid=newsltuspatc00000001
Richard DeVries March 31, 2012 at 11:02 PM
well my house goes up for sale Monday. Hope it sells fast...
Richard DeVries March 31, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Manteno here i come
Scot April 01, 2012 at 01:18 AM
It all makes sense. If you shop in other towns they get the benefits of the tax money, thats why OF passed the new tax. Riddle me this BATMAN how many Jack Frost cones do I have to buy to help this town ?? I cant buy a pair of shoes in this town. Where do I shop?? Sure I shop at Food4Less and thats about it!!
Patrick McCarthy April 02, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Good luck selling your house!!!!
Michael M. April 25, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Maybe the tax would not have been needed if the city was not using tax payer dollars to pay for facade improvements for businesses in Oak Forest.
tim carroll July 14, 2012 at 02:30 PM
how about taking all the cars away from city employees, i watch cops all the time with the squads full of kids, a waste of city money, the public works dept is a country club also. I dont shop here because there is nothing here i need. Have to head west for food, clothing etc. passing all the empty storefronts along the way.

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