Village votes for property taxes

November 25, 2009 (SCHAUMBURG, Ill.) The tax is expected to raise nearly $24 million. For decades, revenues from retail have meant Schaumburg homeowners did not have to pay a municipal property tax.

But because of the recession, revenues are down and the village needs money.

A public hearing will be held on the issue December 15. The final vote happens December 22.

For decades, the village of Schaumburg has paid for services, including police protection, snow plowing and roadwork, with money from sales taxes collected at Woodfield shopping center and other retailers.

Schaumburg has long been a destination for shoppers, not only from the northwest suburbs, but Woodfield Mall attracts people from around the Midwest. There are numerous malls, restaurants, hotels and car dealerships providing sales tax revenue to the village of about 76,000 people. But as the economy has nosedived, so has tax revenue, leading village officials to consider a property tax - a first for the village of Schaumburg.

"We're going to run out of money September of next year unless we do something about it. And the only revenue source that we can look at that would meet that kind of requirement is a property tax," said Al Larson, Schaumburg village president.

A meeting last week, originally scheduled for a small conference room, had to be moved to council chambers to handle the crowd of residents, most of whom apparently opposed a tax.

"The tax burden is tremendous right now with the way the economy is going. And not only do I have a home here, I have a business here, so it's a double whammy," said Mike Lagoia, Schaumburg resident.

"We must cut public spending across the board," said Brian Costin, head, Schaumburg Freedom Coalition.

Costin says the new Schaumburg convention center may be to blame for much of the village's projected deficit, about $17 million next year. But the tax, he says, is not the answer.

"There's a lot of unnecessary spending in the village of Schaumburg, first and foremost being the convention center," said Costin.

The village manager said they have cut about as far as they can without significantly affecting police and fire protection.

Schaumburg residents already pay property taxes for school, library and park districts.

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