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VOTE: Additional 1 Percent Sales Tax—What's Your Take?

Shoppers in Oak Forest could pay 1 percent more for certain goods, if Oak Forest aldermen sign off on the home-rule sales tax this week. What does this mean to you? Have your say.

The City of Oak Forest is considering tacking on an additional 1 percent sales tax to all “tangible personal property" — which excludes services, nonprepared food, prescription drugs and licensed vehicles.

The tax would be the latest attempt to replenish a revenue stream that has fallen $4.2 million short in the past four years, according to a news release from the city.

To offset the shortfall, the city has previously reduced its and . The city also delayed the purchase of new vehicles, machinery and equipment, according to the release. hours were also pared down to reduce operating costs.

"Our mantra over the past four years has been cut, cut, cut," City Treasurer Dwayne Fox said in the release. "Despite our best cost-containment efforts, we cannot overcome a $4.2-million loss in income tax, sales tax and utility tax revenues while facing increasing costs of providing services. A home-rule sales tax would spread these costs to nonresidents and diversify our revenues."

Patch wants to know how our readers feel, and we started with our Facebook fans.

  • Ed Morris said: “This is getting plain ridiculous. So it will be 9.5%, the SAME AS CHICAGO. Yet we are less than 1% of their size by population. Its time for a citizens review panel. Trash Increase + Water Increase + Utility Bill Tax Increase + Cell Tax Inc... “
  • Jim Vanderwall said: “Maybe the city needs to learn how to live within their budget. Everyone should be calling their alderman about this. Enough is enough!!”
  • Danielle Abendroth said: The city is taxing us to death. Increases in property taxes and plus max taxes on telephone internet and cable gas tax For what? I already do the bulk of shopping outside of OF and the county and will continue to do so even more if I can. The city should focus on bringing in businesses to generate tax revenue instead of taxing the consumers. Or eliminate unnecessary governnent positions to cover the budget.
  • Darryl Kowalewski said: "All I know is I went into that [finance] meeting ready to complain complain complain, and after hearing all of the facts, I came away with the sense that many concessions had already been made, and that all were informed of their options, and were doing what was best for the city and it's residents given the current situation. ...
    What I was guilty of in the past, and vowed not to be guilty of in the future, was complaining about these issues without doing my homework, it's a work in progress, but it feels better, I can tell you that much.”
  • Ruth Ensing said: No economic development equals higher taxes. The city is stagnant and will continue to be so until we get a more pro-active team.
  • Brian Koehler said: IF, and that's a big if, I were to spend $1,000 in Oak Forest per year on tangible personal property, I think paying an extra $10 is a reasonable and minimal increase and I'm ok with that. That's assuming they vote on a full 1% increase. As a home rule community, the Council doesn't have to go to referendum to the citizens. I agree with everyone that we need more businesses in town to help pay their share too but that can only happen with a full staff in Community Development.
  • Michael Master said: Ill just keep shopping in will county.

Where do you stand? Will deter you from spending money within Oak Forest city limits?

tod richards March 26, 2012 at 02:53 PM
i feel Jo Ann Kelly wanted this town to go down the drain
tod richards March 26, 2012 at 02:57 PM
from article "Life in Oak Forest: What Matters Most to You?" Julia 2:12 pm on Monday, March 5, 2012 We need money coming in from local business. Oak Forest is broke! NANCY GRACE 8:16 am on Monday, March 5, 2012 We need an indoor soccer complex! Do we really need a indoor soccer complex
Oh Fanada March 26, 2012 at 03:00 PM
We pay some of the highest property taxes around. Sales tax is already high on everything. Taxes on gas, liquor etc. is ridiculous. More tax on tangible goods makes buying household goods, auto parts, OTC drugs and lots of things we purposefully buy locally cost more. Now eating at any OF restaurant is going to be taxed more, too. MIdlo, Tinley, Orland can all provide the same goods without the extra tax. Just one more way to tell Oak Forest residents and businesses that the city will spend and we will all pay!
Erin March 26, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Tod, No worries, I have pretty thick skin! I actually agree with you mostly, I always do my shopping at Jewel even though I spend more money to shop there. I believe in supporting my community but for my family something has to give. My husband suffered a stroke and is now physically disabled and can no longer work, I haven't had a raise in two years because of "the economy" however my property taxes have gone up with everything else. Something has to give, so I will have to go elsewhere.
Mike Ziak March 26, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Sorry Tod, but being committed to the community doesn't mean opening up my wallet every time our elected officials say they're broke and not to expect me to ask questions. Taxing for a specific purpose to enhance the community is a good thing. Like when the Park District wanted to raise money to buy the Convent property and build a sport complex. That's a good tax. Raising taxes because you're broke, negotiated bad contracts and cant manage money is a bad tax. This sales tax is a bad one and its only going to hurt the city rather than help it. Read the purpose of this tax. According to our elected treasurer, "A home-rule sales tax would spread these costs to nonresidents and diversify our revenues." While residents may look at this as something to help the community they live in, what about the non-residents? You think they give a rip? Non-prepared food is excluded from the tax, so that excludes most of the things you buy at the grocery store. So where exactly are they going to get this $1.1 million from? People going to McDonalds? As for the sidewalks on Central. Every couple of years, we are told that the money is secured for the sidewalks and that construction will be done by the end of the summer (enter the year here). So, if the money is there, where are the sidewalks?
Ron Fobert March 26, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Ron If the revenue stream is so bad why does the city continue to buy property ( arbor school ) and the lasest the methodist church
Laura Richard March 26, 2012 at 04:10 PM
I AGREE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Patrick M. Gordon, Mayor 1997-2005 March 26, 2012 at 04:57 PM
WhiIe I realize the City has a money problem, it didn't "just" happen! This administration has been sleeping for the past 3 years. We;ve seen businesses leave town and nothing being done to help stop the bleeding. We have a "City Collector" who is a neighbor of the Mayor and whose job was created for him at a 6 figure salary twice that of the previous Deputy Clerk and having less than half the expertise. We have a former Mayor and his wife also making a combined salary + benefits of $100,000+, and why? The wife's job, "Office Manager" of the Building Department, was created for her by the previous Mayor. Who does she manage? One staffer and a part time senior gentleman! Again, friends of the current Mayor who will never be out of their jobs! Would I support a City sales tax?? Not until I see some real cuts, particularly those I just mentioned, and some effort to bring in business for sales tax revenue. Another 1% will make that task that much harder.
Jenelle Slaviero March 26, 2012 at 05:19 PM
This is going to push people out of Oak Forest to shop! I would rather travel 5 more minutes out of OF to pay less in tax! We are being taxed to death! It needs to stop!
Julia March 26, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Since you are quoting me out of context from the new train station article let me make something clear..I meant we need additional businesses to bring in more money, not to raise the tax on already high prices at all Oak Forest businesses......
Richard DeVries March 26, 2012 at 07:34 PM
I reccomend you get the the Dave Ramsey dvds or take the 13 week classes and learn how to budget. Do i get a raise from work if i cannot pay my bills. NO you idiots i budget what i have. I cut back. Do you all need life insurance thru the city NO!, Cut back. Get off your high horses and cut back. merge wards and get rid of some of the aldermen. Most don't do anything anyway. Really look into Dave Ramsey it will do you a world of good. Not just our town but all of you. Get out of the rat race. LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE TODAY SO LATER YOU CAN ,LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE. Get rid of credit cards, car payments. Do you really need that expensive car, or can a 3000- 4000 $ car work for you. NEEDS OVER WANTS PEOPLE.
Richard DeVries March 26, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Guess you are committed to being broke. Jewel is way to high for most. Food for less and aldi are where it's at.
Richard DeVries March 26, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Yeah what he said.........
Darryl Kowalewski March 26, 2012 at 09:16 PM
From what I have heard, this 1% will not be added to groceries: "which excludes services, nonprepared food, prescription drugs". The catch 22 here is if you boycott local establishments, then you punish yourself. If you don't continue to frequent Oak Forest restaurants for example, because of the additional $.20 you would have to pay on a $20.00 dinner, then you are helping that business go out of business, which doesn't help the situation any. Given gas prices, it actually cost more than 20 cents to go out of town and back. I think we all want the business' in Oak Forest to be able to sustain themselves, and hopefully make enough of a profit to spend a little more on facade repair, beautification, at least that's what I've been hearing anyway. A successful enough boycott of our business' might just lead to more shuttered storefronts, which is the last thing any of us want as far as I can tell. I have heard a lot of things in this thread however that I have not heard before, in regards to other ways the city could be saving money. Patch, is there any way a section, or a thread could be set up where people could post their suggestions for ways the city could reduce it's budget? That might be a nice place to hash out ideas so we can gather around some solutions and hopefully get the best ones enacted....
Mike Ziak March 26, 2012 at 10:44 PM
While I did not agree with some of your policies when you were mayor, I do agree 100% with you on this. So they say they've cut staff and are running way below the staffing requirements that other towns are running at. Ok, great. What is the current staffing breakdown? How many "supervisors" are there per department and how many people are they in charge of? Technically the Collector position is a financial one. So, there are 3 people supposedly running the finances in this town. Are any of them a CPA? This town needs to be run like a business, maybe then they will know how to attract other businesses.
Lauren Traut (Editor) March 26, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Great idea, Darryl! I'll put something together for tomorrow! Hopefully you'll be one of the first to post?
Brian Koehler March 27, 2012 at 01:38 AM
I agree Darryl but my concern is that the residents haven't spent the time to look closely at the budget and try to understand it and therefore make helpful suggestions. I think the time for that is during the required public hearings on the budget or during Finance Committee meetings leading up to the budget. Couldn't hurt to throw a thread out there but I think I know the type of comments we'll get. Maybe it's just the pessimistic side of me though
Michael M. March 27, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Darryl, by not shopping at OF business, we would not be helping them go out of business, the OF city council would be doing that. The point is that we have to stop the govt from making all these decisions without our consent, they never seem to be able to see past their noses. When we keep quite, we are giving our tacit consent. They make the decision and they have to live with the consequences of that decision. The business owners should get together and go to the council meeting and explain how this will hurt their business, and we as well should go and express our displeasure with this idea. Maybe, when businesses move or close up the council will understand that they can not solve this problem by taxing us into oblivion. It will be 1% now, but what about next year? How much is too much? Give then an inch and they will take a mile.
Michael M. March 27, 2012 at 02:35 AM
I will start it off. 1. Renegotiate the city workers contracts 2. Investigate privatizing some of the city services, that would save money on benefits for worker as they would be passed on to the private business. 3. Keep city vehicles longer, I drive a 13 yr old vehicle. 4. Make the city more business friendly, it will bring more business and citizens into the city and increase the tax base without having to increase taxes. Always increase the participation level before increasing the taxes from a limited participation base. I think these should be investigated. They may not all be feasible, but it is a start.
NANCY GRACE March 27, 2012 at 08:06 AM
When is the mayors term up?
Richard DeVries March 27, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Stop spending money u don't have. Save for it. Dave Ramsey.
Lauren Traut (Editor) March 27, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Don't forget: City Council will be voting on this tonight, 8 p.m. at City Hall (15440 S. Central). We'll have live updates after the meeting, with notes on who voted which way. Stay tuned to Patch!
Patrick McCarthy March 28, 2012 at 04:07 AM
His term is up in 2013. The current mayor as far as I am concerned is invisible. What has he done? He sure does not communicate to the residents like former mayors did.How many people know his name? Where is his leadership on trying to get new business? Country Club Hills can get a HUGE shopping center at 167th and Pulaski. Country Club Hills!!!!!!!!!. What does Oak Forest get, a new bank at 159th & Cicero closing after only a couple of years. We have no leadership!!!!!
Michael M. March 28, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Do we have an update yet?
Lauren Traut (Editor) March 28, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Hi, Mike. With a 5-0 vote (two aldermen absent), the city passed the tax. We'll have more details—including feedback from Mayor Kuspa and aldermen—first thing in the morning. Also, you should check out our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/oakforestpatch, where we updated live from the meeting.
Michael M. March 28, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Ahhh, I went to the wrong place for the update. Unbelievable!! It is obvious they do not read The Patch or listen to the citizens of OF
Lauren Traut (Editor) March 28, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Not the "wrong" place—we'll have more here tomorrow! So you have to check back!
Michael M. March 28, 2012 at 04:30 AM
I will check back and I posted on the FB page
NANCY GRACE March 28, 2012 at 08:51 AM
Rich give it a break with dave ramsey
Lauren Traut (Editor) March 28, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Hey, Darryl. We loved your idea, and we'd like to turn it into a regular Patch feature. Can you get us started with this one, today? http://oakforest.patch.com/articles/fixing-oak-forest-what-would-you-do-to-bring-business-back

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