Homeowners react to property tax hike

October 27, 2009 (CHICAGO) Property taxes bills will arrive in mailboxes in a few days.

The end of a cap on taxes will result in nearly all Cook County homeowners paying more property taxes.

Some of Chicago's most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods face the largest tax increases.

In the shadow of historic Garfield Park is a modern story of a neighborhood trying to survive; families are working and living and still falling behind.

On Tuesday, they got what they say feels like a slap in the face - their property taxes are going up over 46 percent.

"It's very tough for us right now. I'm not looking forward to seeing that tax bill," said Imogene Lester, homeowner.

Property taxes are going up across Cook County. Some of the towns with the biggest increase are:

  • Franklin Park where taxes will go up 20%
  • Northlake where residents will likely find a more than 20% increase

In Chicago, residents can expect the following increases:

  • Englewood: 24%
  • Fuller Park: 28%
  • New City: 23%
  • But the largest increase will be in West Garfield Park: over 46 percent.

    Some West Garfield Park residents fear the increase in property tax will force even more families out of an already distressed neighborhood.

    Each house that's devastated or left abandoned due to foreclosure or what have you already diminishes the value of our property and then they gonna add another tax to the property…we won't be able to sustain it," said Benita Williams-Thompson, homeowner.

    "All of this foreclosure crisis and the tax crisis really undercuts and undermines everything that we've been working hard to achieve as a community," said Steven McCullough, Bethel New Life.

    Mayor Daley announced plans to offer some relief: up to a $200 refund if a homeowner's tax goes up $350.

    "We must do all can do to protect working class families and middle class families they are the heart and soul of the city or this nation I would say," said Daley.

    The Smiths were born and raised on the West Side. They're too young for the senior's tax credits and haven't had any luck finding part time work to survive their retirement. The increased tax will force them to stretch their fixed income even farther.

    "We're struggling as it is to keep things going and yet they don't seem to understand that. We're struggling folks this economy is hurting everyone," said Lee Henry Smith, homeowner.

    Mayor Daley's plan would have to be approved by City Council. If approved, the program would open the end of November and run for two months. The homeowner would have to apply for the program and a refund check will take six to eight weeks.

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