Every year by law, the City of Chicago has to host a Budget Hearing Meeting. By law, the mayor must attend and he must also stay until the last person speaks. For the past few years around this time, I have written about the hearings. And this year won’t be an exception.
I’ve been going to these hearings for years. Do they work? For the most part, yes. My block was one of the first in the city to get a cul-de-sac because of one of those meetings. Now I know a lot of people don’t like them, but my block is happy with ours. Prior to the cul-de-sac, we would have heavy trucks rumble down our street and many of us had cracks in our foundations in part due to those heavy trucks.
Now there are a lot of things people are unhappy about when it comes to the city, and here’s your chance to mention your displeasure to the mayor and his staff. Like why is it that the mayor is supposed to be such a powerful politician and yet the 7-percent property tax freeze hasn’t been re-authorized? So when your next bill comes through, be prepared for an increase of 50 percent and more!
We got those reassessment postcards late last year. When they came in the mail, and they showed your house has a new assessed value of $36,000 you didn’t pay much heed. You knew your house could sell for $200,000, so the assessed value seemed real cheap. But let me give you an example of how it works. Let’s say your current assessed value is $24,000 and you’re paying $2,000 dollars a year in taxes. So you’re basically paying about $1,000 for every $12,000 in assessed value. If the value of your house goes to $36,000, you would expect your taxes to increase by $1,000 for the increase in value.
But the sneaky part is that the multipliers sometimes change. At tax time, they can decide your taxes are now $1,500 for each $12,000 in assessed value. So when you get your bill, you expect it to be $3,000 but it turns out to be $4,500 dollars. If they make the multiplier $2,000, then your new tax bill becomes $6,000.
I’ve given you a simplistic version of your property tax bill. In truth, because they have to take in what the county taxes you, what the Board of Ed taxes you, and what every other governing body wants as their percentage of taxes, city officials can never state what your new tax bill will be until it actually comes out.
Here are a few other things you might want to mention to the mayor and his staff: drug dealing, CTA, Chicago Public Schools, potholes, 9 percent sales tax, city stickers, people putting illegal apartments in basements and attics, parking tickets, jobs for teens, booting of cars, police response time, hired trucking program, affordable housing, loud car stereos, police cameras, public urination, job training programs, privatizing of city jobs, CHA, stores selling loose cigarettes, storefront churches, garbage, businesses with ties to slavery getting city business, predatory lending, racial profiling, programs for seniors, people running stop signs, stores selling alcohol to underage kids, sexual predators being housed predominantly in the black community, traffic lights and why they can’t be timed to allow traffic to flow, bicycle lanes, winter parking restrictions, encouraging businesses to locate in Chicago, the Kedzie and Chicago Service Center, speeding of cars on residential streets, redevelopment of the West Side business districts, illegal immigrants who are charged with felonies not getting reported to immigration officials, what to do with the old 15th District station on Chicago Avenue, police patrols, allowing Chicagoans to again register handguns, missing asphalt, Meigs Field, dog-fighting, the $40 million trucking scandal, white-owned businesses pretending to be minority-owned, city contracts to vend at the airport; city employees who now feel they should be able to live in the suburbs and work for the city, police taserings, forcing children to cross gang territories as locals schools are closed, and on and on.
The meetings are as follows:
Aug. 23 – South Shore Cultural Center, 71st and South Shore Drive
Aug. 28 – Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, 2102 W. Ogden
Aug. 30 – Falconer School 3020 N. Lamon.
If you have the time, go to all three meetings. Don’t be discouraged by the lack of parking; they designed it that way. So get there early-because it will become even clearer that the city that works … ain’t working!
Last week I forgot to give the contact person for Shorebank. You can call either Lucy Trayler Haynes at 773/420-5173 or Tom Bosley at 773/420-5162.