I received this note from Peter Breen, currently a Trustee in the Village of Lombard. He is running for IL State Representative in the 48th District. It shows that things CAN be turned around with the right people in office who are truly public servants and are willing to work hard for the people they serve:
I thought the Patriots might be interested in the news from our board meeting in Lombard last night: after two and a half years of work, I was able to put together a majority of board members to approve property tax relief by freezing Lombard property taxes next year. The article is below.
I've voted against both the property tax levy increases I've faced during my time on the Lombard Board. That was easy. Tougher was the hard work of trying to change the conversation so that other members of the board would see property tax relief not just as possible but being in the best interests of the people of Lombard. As the culmination of two-and-a-half years of work for me, I take some personal satisfaction in getting this vote. The fact that this is the first freeze after twenty straight years of property tax hikes makes the accomplishment all the more significant!
MAN BITES DOG: LOMBARD FREEZES PROPERTY TAXES
LOMBARD - Thursday night, the Lombard Village Board voted 4-2 to freeze property taxes for the first time in over twenty years. Finance Committee Chairperson Trustee Peter Breen introduced the freeze, which cuts roughly one quarter million dollars from next year's proposed Lombard property tax levy. Trustees Reid Foltyniewicz, Dan Whittington, and Laura Fitzpatrick also backed the measure.
"With our home values way down and so many people out of work, this is no time for a property tax increase. Our residents are tightening their belts, and our village government is doing the same. Lombard is showing that government can deliver quality service to residents and still hold the line on taxes and fees," said Breen.
Lombard residents have benefitted from several fee and tax breaks over the past few years, from eliminating annual village vehicle fee and stickers, to adopting the state's toughest financial transparency policy, to implementing this year's property tax freeze.
"Last night's vote marks an end to the era of automatic property tax increases, imposed without regard to the actual cost to provide necessary government services," Breen, who is also running for state representative to represent Lombard, said. "I call on every local unit of government to join Lombard in taking property tax increases off of 'autopilot' and instead return savings to the taxpayers."
The Lombard Village Board has enacted significant cost savings measures in the past year, through a successful early retirement initiative and increased efficiencies in risk management policies and procedures. This year alone, the village will put approximately $1.8 million into its utility tax reserve, which provides a cushion for fluctuations in future costs and a source of funds for future tax relief for residents.
Lombard's annual budget is roughly $85 million. The village has approximately $46 million in assets and maintains full 25% reserves on its fund balances. Before last night's freeze, the Lombard village property tax levy has increased from over $4 million in 1992 to over $6 million in 2002 to over $8.5 million in 2012.