The organizers of a against high property taxes in Yorkville in May are hoping to repeat that success in Oswego today.
The second Kendall County Property Tax Revolt, as organizers are calling it, is set for noon to 8 p.m. at . The Yorkville event drew more than 300 people, according to co-organizer Greg O’Neil, and the group hopes to see similar numbers in Oswego today.
The group includes Mark Johnson, who has been , and Don and Judie Burks.
The idea, O’Neil said, began as a way to educate people on how to challenge their property tax assessments. But it’s become a vehicle to express dissatisfaction with the property tax situation in Kendall County, and perhaps affect a change.
“People can’t afford the tax rate here,” O’Neil said. “Particularly people on a fixed income.”
According to a Tax Foundation report released in May, Kendall County ranks 26th out of 2,992 U.S. counties when it comes to high property tax rates. The county is also suffering from a high foreclosure rate – foreclosures are up 8 percent county-wide this year over the same time period last year, according to this Oswego Ledger-Sentinel story.
O’Neil believes county residents are being taxed out of their homes, and he’d like to see something done about it. The group has launched an online petition to have the taxes returned to 2008 levels, or county spending cut by 20 percent. That petition had 38 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.
“Do I think they’ll do it? No,” O’Neil said. “But it’s a starting point for a discussion.”
The lion’s share of homeowners’ property taxes go to the school districts, which O’Neil understands. He said there must be a better way of operating schools, and suggested using the buildings year-round for a start. But he also said the funding mechanism for schools needs to be overhauled, instead of continuing to raise taxes.
Today’s rally will include information on appealing a property tax assessment, but it’s also designed to send a message.
“I think people understand that we can’t continue down this path,” he said. “We can’t run a community into the ground by unlimited spending.”
Today’s Kendall County Property Tax Revolt runs from noon to 8 p.m. at Hudson Crossing Park, 65 N. Harrison St. in Oswego.