Kendall County Property Tax Revolt Focuses on Education
A steady stream of residents talked taxes and politics Friday afternoon in Yorkville's Town Square Park.
Robert Bell of Montgomery pinned a “fiscally responsible awareness” ribbon to his shirt for the Kendall County Property Tax Revolt on Friday afternoon.
It was fashioned from a dollar bill. A one dollar bill.
“It seems to be time for the local governments to be a little more austere, because a lot of us who pay taxes have had to be more austere,” Bell said.
The “revolt” didn’t involve chants or signs Friday afternoon, but rather a steady stream of people gathering in Yorkville’s Town Square Park. The crowd seemed to peak around 75 people at any particular time.
Organizers Mark Johnson and Judie and Don Burks passed out information on appealing tax assessments, shared some casual conversation and gathered e-mail addresses for a mailing list. Some participants left determined to attend more local government meetings; others left determined to examine local officials and become involved with their elections.
“We’re here for one reason: They’ve taken enough of our money,” said Anthony Millim of Yorkville. “… We’re the voiceless; we need to become voices.”
Don Burks said he and his wife decided to become involved with the grassroots effort after watching Yorkville leaders sign on for one expensive project after another: upgrades to Route 47, replacing the River Road bridge, funding the Kennedy Road bike path if volunteers aren’t successful in raising the city’s bill, and possibly purchasing the REC Center building.
“They are either out of touch with reality, or they think they have an endless supply of money,” Burks said.
He saw one lady at the event Friday afternoon who said she hoped her presence alone sent a message to local leaders. Burks applauded her attitude.
“We don’t want you to price people out of the community,” Burks said of his local governmental leaders.
County Board member Dan Koukol of Oswego said several people he talked with throughout the afternoon indicated they couldn’t sell their homes because of the high property taxes.
“All taxing bodies need to tighten their belts and look at the important things that make that taxing body work,” said Koukol, who emphasized the county board’s relatively healthy fund balance at a recent county board meeting.
Meanwhile, County Board candidate Judy Gilmour of Yorkville complimented event organizers for helping people understand how to appeal their assessments. She also hoped residents understood the levy process – which starts months before tax bills are calculated – and often involves a public hearing.
“The public should go to those meetings,” Gilmour said, “and let their voices be heard.”