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Giving Residents a Voice


Road District Consolidation: The analysis should be done before the referendum is on the ballot?

As we’ve previously written, Naperville City Councilman Kevin Coyne and Naperville Township Supervisor Rachel Ossyra have gotten a binding referendum on the April 4th ballot, 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?” Both have clearly stated that the consolidation would lower real estate taxes in both townships, while the effect of the referendum is that residents of Lisle Township would receive a decrease of about 28%, while Naperville Township residents would receive an increase of about 79%.

The numbers speak for themselves, and the concept is pretty straightforward. You consolidate two road districts, with taxes ($3.1 million extension) and the tax rate ($.0707) for one (Lisle) between two and three times as large as the other (Naperville, tax extension of $1.1 million and rate of $.0286) (all amounts CY 2016). In the consolidation, the two are added together with the total tax spread over the new combined entity. Arithmetic dictates that the new tax rate will be somewhere between the two former rates, with the lower rate increasing and the higher rate decreasing. An article in the February 16, 2017 Daily Herald notes that “Naperville Township Assessor Warren Dixon says it’s inevitable in consolidation for taxes to go up for one of the consolidation units and down for the other. It’s the law of averages, he says.”With this particular proposal, because the difference in the tax amounts and rates is so large between the two, even at the top of their own range of estimated future savings of $800,000 to $1.4 million, the taxes in Naperville Township would increase.

We filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the City of Naperville and Naperville Township, requesting all communication, documents and supporting analysis regarding the proposed consolidation of the Naperville Township Road District (NTRD) functions into the City of Naperville through an Inter-Governmental Agreement or the consolidation of NTRD with another entity, including the Lisle Township Road District (LTRD). Under Illinois law, if those records exist they must be provided. The responses included documents and emails, but no analysis of the impact of consolidating the NTRD with the LTRD. That means one of two things: either the City of Naperville and/or Naperville Township is not providing documents they are legally required to provide (which we’re not suggesting) orapparently no analysis of the effect on taxpayers of combining the NTRD and the LTRD was done prior to placing a binding referendum on the April 4th ballot.

Think about that: Kevin Coyne and Rachel Ossyra put a binding referendum on the ballot, with apparently no analysis being done on the effect of that referendum on taxpayers.

When we posted our issue on February 18th noting the tax increase in Naperville Township, we saw a response from more than one member of the ‘Lower Taxes’ crowd to the effect of ‘more detail on the way.’ On February 23rd, Kevin Coyne posted on the Coyne for Council Facebook page “much more information and detail is coming. Unlike the critics, our information will be put forth with people’s names and their credentials clearly stated.” Well, over two weeks later and that information and detail is apparently still on the way. We asked then why the ‘Lower Taxes’ crowd wouldn’t just share the analysis they did prior to proposing the referendum. The FOIA responses answered that: seems there was no analysis.

Regarding the information being generated with people’s names and credentials clearly stated, we suspect that someone has been hired to construct some hypothesis or financial model to arrive at a conclusion that both townships will see reduced taxes as a result of the proposed consolidation. A financial model can be engineered to arrive at just about any conclusion depending upon the assumptions made, however unrealistic those assumptions may be. We look forward to seeing the detailed assumptions of any financial model used to reach such a conclusion. We suspect the detail won’t be disclosed, but that some general statement referencing 'efficiencies' and 'cost savings' will be made and publicized.

So to summarize: 1.) Based on the response to FOIA requests, no analysis was done regarding the impact on taxpayers who would be affected by a consolidation of NTRD and LTRD. 2.) Kevin Coyne and Rachel Ossyra get a binding referendum on the ballot to consolidate the NTRD and the LTRD for the purpose of ‘Lower Taxes.’ 3.) People are told the consolidation will lower taxes in both townships. 4.) It turns out that Naperville Township taxpayers will see a tax increase instead of the decrease promised. 5.) “much more information and detail is coming” for over two weeks and counting, probably from a third party recently hired to do an analysis which should have been done before the referendum was ever proposed, let alone put on the ballot.

Does that seem like the right approach to putting a binding referendum on the ballot to you?

It’s worth stating again: we are strongly in favor of government consolidation which makes sense and benefits the taxpayers. We are not in favor of misleading political stunts with can’t miss buzzwords like ‘Lower Taxes.’ One of the centerpieces of Kevin Coyne’s current term on Council and election campaign has been lowering taxes through consolidation. So he and Rachel Ossyra put a consolidation referendum on the ballot with apparently no analysis of the impact on taxpayers, claiming it will lower taxes when it will actually increase taxes for many of those being told they would see a decrease.

Kevin Coyne and Rachel Ossyra are asking for your vote on April 4th.

Representing you like that, have they earned it?

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