Village to hold tax levy hearing Nov 14 as property taxes surge 35%, the highest year over year increase in a decade
Better watch what you spend on Christmas gifts this year, as Norridge Mayor James Chmura is planning on a big increase in the Village’s property tax levy.
The 35.5% increase marks the most dramatic one-year rise of the property tax levy in 10 years. By comparison, from 2013 to 2017, the tax levy under Chmura rose a total of 18%.
In 2013 the levy was $997,000; this year (payable in 2019) it will climb to $1.6 million, the highest levy since Norridge started levying property taxes.
That’s a 60% percent increase since Chmura took over. Has your income gone up 60% during that same period?
Not a dime of this $1.6 million is going towards roads, or sewers, or anything else we may need, it’s going directly to employee pensions.
The James Chmura regime will do his best to pull the wool over our eyes by claiming he “has” to raise property taxes to pay for pensions, as it’s required by law to fund them fully by the year 2040.
However, that would be false and misleading… while the pensions do have to be funded by law, they do not have to be funded from property taxes.
Why does Village even have a property tax levy?
Prior to 2009 the village didn’t levy property taxes. Pension contributions were paid out of the general fund; in 2008 that was $540,000.
The “general fund” comes from sales taxes, income tax sharing and similar taxes.
After the stock market crash of 2008, the village levied a property tax to “help” pay for pensions, so they said.
Then-mayor Ronald Oppedesiano also claimed it was “temporary”, until markets recovered.
However, per the Village financial documents, Norridge actually eliminated the general fund contribution from fiscal year 2010-2011 onward.
Since 2013-2014 there has only been small contributions from the general fund, anywhere from $26,000 to $100,000, far below the property tax levy. Now, they have been eliminated once again.
During that time, the property tax levy for pensions went from zero, to $1.6 million dollars a year.
Village goes on a spending spree – on our dime
But hold on a minute – this is for the “police pension”… does that mean you are against our police?
If you’re familiar with Internet memes and abbreviations, the one for “laugh out loud” (LOL) comes to mind right about now.
Politicians love to hide behind police and fire departments to justify tax increases. They always put them up front as shields to excuse their wasteful spending. Don’t fall for it.
The Norridge Improvement Party regime didn’t levy a property tax to “help” the pension fund. What they did was shift funding from sales tax revenue to property owners, creating a new burden on us that didn’t exist before.
Why? Because Mayors Earl Field and Oppedesiano were too busy creating jobs for their political cronies, including their own family members.
For Oppedesiano, it was Anthony Valentino, his brother in law. For Field, it was his son Brian J Field, who remains a highly paid public works employee.
If it’s not the Fields or the Oppedesianos, it’s the Gaseor family or the Rein family. For James Chmura, it’s giving out no-bid patronage jobs to the Fanelli family, the McGready family, or the Avino family.
Or handing out huge raises for long time party loyalists like now “Village Administrator” Joanna Skupien.
Or giving out MILLIONS to business interests of Harlem Irving Plaza CEO Michael Marchese, a NIP campaign contributor.
On and on and on. And these are just a few of those who have benefited from this regime of corruption and nepotism.
In short, Village politicians got greedy, and made us pay for it – because they could. And pay for it we have the past 10 years.
The stock market has rebounded in leaps in bounds the past several years. That means the investments in the police pension fund should be doing better than ever.
Yet the “police pension” property tax levy continues to increase nearly every year. What happened to that “temporary” tax?
Unlimited power of taxation means unrestrained tax and spend policies
How is the Village able to raise taxes without the consent of the people? District 80, Pennoyer and Ridgewood have all tried to raise property tax levies in the past 10 years, and had to go through the voter referendum process.
The Village, however, is “home rule” municipality. As such, they are not limited by the Property Tax Limitation LAW (PTELL) which restrict public bodies annual property tax increases to around inflation… in recent years, it’s about a few percentage points.
A home rule municipality like Norridge doesn’t have to seek voter approval of any tax increases.
But Home Rule is not an entitlement – home rule is only automatically granted to larger municipalities by default, and Norridge had to get theirs by voter referendum. It’s a privilege the Village government enjoys, so long as we, the voters, allow them to possess it.
It’s bad enough the State raised income taxes last year to pay for unsustainable state pensions. It’s bad enough “Crook” County raised sales taxes to pay for equally unsustainable pensions, or “Queen Sugar” Toni Taxwinkle’s crazy sugar tax last year (one of the few taxes that was actually repealed).
Ever the tax and spend politician himself, James Chmura raised the Norridge home rule sales tax this year, via, you guessed it, the Village’s home rule authority.
We now pay 10.5% sales tax. But this tax hike was not “not enough” for Chmura’s voracious appetite for taxpayer dollars. Gotta feed dose party loyalists, yo.
All these taxes at the state, county, and local level take a big bite our of our wallets.
We don’t need our local governments burdening property owners even more.
What are the solutions?
As far as we’re concerned, there is no justification for a tax levy at all, let alone an increase!
Based on this trend, and the fact that Chmura wants to spend $8 to $12 million on a new police station we don’t need, it seems clear that taxes will continue to rise in the years to come – perhaps substantially.
What can we do to fix these issues?
How about we start by making politicians accountable? This behavior continues as voters haven’t “thrown the bums out”.
The other more direct way, is we could simply repeal home rule by voter referendum.
If Village politicians are going to abuse their home rule authority – perhaps it’s time we take it away from them, and with it their unlimited power to tax.
Do you think you pay enough tax, or want to pay more?
Let’s give voters a chance to weigh on whether their taxes should go up to support James Chmura and his Norridge Improvement Party’s nepotism, cronyism, and bloated patronage army.
The tax levy hearing is November 14 6PM at the Village Hall.