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Road District consolidation and savings: Let's make sure we understand this.

Naperville City Councilman Kevin Coyne and Naperville Township Supervisor Rachel Ossyra have gotten a binding referendum on the April 4th ballot in order to achieve lower real estate taxes, asking voters: “Shall the Naperville Road District and the Lisle Township Road District of DuPage County Illinois be consolidated into one consolidated township road district?”


For 2015 (billed and paid in 2016), the rate for the Lisle Township Road District (LTRD) is .0707, while the rate for the Naperville Township Road District (NTRD) is .0286. (Source: DuPage County Clerk. https://www.dupageco.org/CountyClerk/49766/) If this referendum is approved, the tax extensions and assessed values of the two townships would be combined, resulting in a combined rate for the two of .0511.


So what does that mean? It means residents of Lisle Township would receive a decrease of about 28%, while Naperville Township residents would receive an increase of about 79%.


Let’s use an example. On a home with a market value of $450,000, a homeowner in Naperville Township would pay a real estate tax to the NTRD of about $41, while that homeowner in Lisle Township would pay a real estate tax to the LTRD of about $102. After the consolidation, the homeowners in Naperville Township and Lisle Township would pay the same amount, about $74, which would be an increase for the Naperville Township homeowner of $33, or approximately 79%, while the homeowner in Lisle Township would see a reduction of $28, or about 28%.


We realize that would not be a lot of money to an individual homeowner. When there is this campaign of 'Lower Taxes' on which so many candidates are running, that's not the point. They're campaigning on reducing taxes while actually increasing them for many people. That small little detail isn't mentioned anywhere in the campaign slogans or signs.


So by engineering this proposed consolidation, Councilman Coyne, Naperville Township Supervisor Ossyra and the rest of the ‘Lower Taxes’ crowd (including the creator of the ‘Lower Taxes’ PAC Mike Isaac) are proposing to increase real estate taxes for about 48,000 people in Naperville who live in Naperville Township, while lowering real estate taxes for about 46,000 people in Naperville who live in Lisle Township. Oh, and the consolidation will lower taxes for about 69,000 people in Lisle Township which are not in Naperville.


We suspect those non-Naperville residents appreciate Councilman Coyne, candidate Mike Isaac and Supervisor Ossyra looking out for their interests. Naperville Township residents? Not so sure about them.


So how do these tax-cutting crusaders propose to address the tax increase in Naperville Township they’ve engineered through the “Lower Taxes” movement and referendum? By declaring a “tax holiday” for Naperville Township residents, for “at least a couple of years”.


Essentially, they are going to spend the tax money previously collected and accumulated from those same taxpayers. Then a permanent tax increase will kick in. So they are saying that spending the money they have accumulated from those taxpayers instead of taxing them again is a 'holiday', which will compensate them for a permanent tax increase in the future. How nice of them.


The stated reason for the proposed consolidation was to cut costs and achieve savings. Although they have yet to provide details of how they will cut costs, other than the standard 'efficiencies', a range of $800,000 to $1.4 million is mentioned in the above article. Again, no specifics of how those savings will be achieved. (We sent Councilman Coyne an email on 2/16/17 asking the amount of and detail behind the expected savings, but received no response.) Approximately $1,850,000 would have to be cut (a 44% reduction of the combined tax extensions) for Naperville Township residents to avoid an increase. That’s well above the top of even their range of estimated savings (again, with no detail), and we know how savings from ‘government efficiencies’ go. (Think smart meters).


So even using their numbers the ‘Lower Taxes’ group will lock in a permanent tax increase for the residents of Naperville Township with approval of the referendum of the consolidation for 'Lower Taxes.'


Our group’s focus has been the Naperville City Council, but we can’t help but notice this quote from Supervisor Ossyra: “The key selling point from my perspective is the opportunity to create permanent tax savings for residents of two townships…”


Not only are none of her constituents in Naperville Township getting permanent tax savings, their taxes are being permanently increased.


The Daily Herald article mentions that Councilman Coyne said it will become a model for other consolidations across the region. So a binding referendum on consolidation in order to 'Lower Taxes' which would actually increase taxes on the residents of the township being consolidated is the model. Think about that.


So let’s make sure we have this right: 1.) The 'Lower Taxes' crew of Councilman Coyne, Supervisor Ossyra, candidate Issac and others are proposing consolidation of road districts in order to reduce taxes. (Side note: Councilwoman Brodhead couldn't resist flinging herself on this oh-so politically appealing platform of "Lower Taxes.") 2.) The consolidation from the 'Lower Taxes' group will result in higher taxes for about 48,000 of their (in Mr. Issac’s case, potential) constituents in Naperville who live in Naperville Township. 3.) There would be a ‘tax holiday’ by using money previously collected from those taxpayers in an attempt to temporarily mitigate the permanent tax increase for those same taxpayers.


It seems as if the 'Lower Taxes' group either didn’t understand the implications of their proposal on the residents of Naperville Township, or they don't care. We’re not sure which is worse. We wrote back in September that the Township consolidation was the political equivalent of low hanging fruit. While we absolutely support less and smaller government, and would love to see and support government consolidations that make sense, we continue to believe this particular 'model' is nothing more than a political stunt. After all, what’s better to campaign on than “Lower Taxes?”


How they can say with a straight face that this consolidation will benefit the taxpayers of Naperville Township is beyond us.


Again, it's not necessarily the amount of money. Is it a big increase? No. Do the small increases add up? We think so. But when does it stop? When do we stop getting the hypocritical campaign slogans and buttons and road signs for "Naperville Township Team for Lower Taxes" from the "Team" proposing the "Lower Taxes" referendum which will actually increase taxes for Naperville Township?


According to Councilman Coyne, this is the 'model' for future consolidations. Let's make sure we understand that: raising real estate taxes on the people asked to approve the referendum to consolidate their Township Road District in the name of 'Lower Taxes' is the model.


Election day is approaching. Rachel Ossyra is running against Walter Reilly in the GOP primary this Tuesday, February 28th. Mike Issac and Kevin Coyne are candidates in the consolidated election April 4th. Those dates are your chance to tell the Team for Lower Taxes that you understand.



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