Daily Archives: November 16, 2019

Village board votes to hike municipal tax levy by 32%

Village trustees rubber-stamp 32% year-over-year increase in Norridge’s Village tax levy

Nobody expected the Village board to listen to the howls of protest as the Village’s tax levy continues to rise by double digits every year.

Police pension – required vs recommended

In this regard they did not disappoint, as they voted in unison to raise the property tax levy another 32% at the November 13 2019 board meeting, after a 35% hike last year.

Village officials used their usual explanation about how this money was going toward the “police pension”, and money to fund the pensions was unavailable from other sources.

But we know better: Village politicians are spending boatloads on unneeded payroll, and other wasteful spending like $4.2 million dollars to Norridge Marketplace, leaving little to no general revenue money available to put toward the police pension.

Village officials, and their actuary, Lauterback & Amen, were very precise in their language to use the term “recommended”, in their attempted justification of the $2.1 million price tag.

Appointee-mayor Daniel Tannhauser said it was “mandated by the state” to make these payments.

However, this was misleading – while the recommended amount was $2.1 million, the required amount was actually $1.57 million.

The $1.57 million figure comes from a document sent by the police pension fund’s attorney to then mayor James Chmura back in March.

No Village officials, not Daniel Tannhauser, nor the actuary, discussed the $1.57 million number at the meeting, although they did make references toward paying more toward the unfunded liabilities of the pension fund.

Therefore, the $2.1 million seems more the actuary’s opinion of what they believe “should” be funded, rather than what needs to be funded, per state law.

Since the Village was already levying $1.6 million… there was no requirement to raise the tax levy at all.

Gus Rapatas questioned why taxes continue to rise and when it is going to end. Tannhauser responded that the dollar amount of the increases was very small.

Rapatas responded “We have other problems in the Village as far as getting infrastructure going”, he said.

“We bought the property by Divine Saviour… I just foresee $75 dollars here, $75 dollars there, $100 dollars here… while we’re buying properties that we can’t use, and plowing the church with our public service”, Rapatas added.

Other highlights

Wally Biszczuk questioned why the Divine Saviour church parking lot is being plowed for free by the Village of Norridge’s snow plows. Tannhauser responded they do so to maintain a good relationship with the archdiocese.

Biszczuk further questioned why the Village prioritized charity plowing before Village alleys and streets. Tannhauser indicated he would call him about his concerns.

Mary Willard echoed similar comments “we pay taxes, they [the church] don’t… and they don’t allow us to park there”.

Tannhauser promised to talk to the church about the issue. (Willard has brought this issue up at prior meetings, but no action by the Village was taken.)

Kathleen Smith, the renter of the property in which Jonathan Reyes was found hiding, pleaded with the Norridge Village Board to reimburse her for the $1,300 in damage police officers did when they apprehended Reyes.

Smith’s son is currently battling heart transplant rejection, and was forcibly used as a “human shield” by the SWAT team to extract Reyes from the basement of the home, and police broke windows in an upstairs bedroom five hours later, Smith said.

“Village Administrator” Joanna Skupien says the Village does not feel the officers caused excessive damage.

She also said it would set a precedent. “If we reimburse you, we are going to have somebody else come and seek reimbursement for something else”.

“What you guys did was out of line … damages that were unnecessary” Smith replied.

Smith says E-mails from the Village stated they were “trying to help you with the situation”.

“You guys didn’t help me at all … you guys contacted my landlord and tried to get me in trouble” Smith continued. “We have made life changes based on this”.

Tannhauser stated he would “take it under advisement” and would “meet with the trustees and get back to you”.

Maria Lala discussed the traffic situation on the 4300 block of Oketo Ave ever since the X-Sport opened.

“You have is people flying down the streets, nobody stops, we have kids on that street, I have complained to Chmura I don’t know how many times … you guys haven’t done anything on the streets”

“I spoke to the Chief of police, he said he was going to get a cop out there” she said. “I’ve never seen a cop. I even see cops going through that stop sign.”

“Nobody does anything” Lala said.

Other residents expressed concerns about the parking and traffic situation at Leigh school.

Recording of the November 13 2019 Village of Norridge Tax Levy Hearing and Board Meetings (full videos, 6 minutes, and 45 minutes)