Illinois coronavirus: Which counties are offering property tax relief during the COVID-19 pandemic?

CHICAGO (WLS) -- With the stay-at-home order ongoing and unemployment soaring, property tax bills will be difficult for many families and businesses to pay, and they'll soon be in the mail. So, what are counties doing to help people manage the financial burden?

Leaders of Lake, McHenry and DuPage counties told the ABC 7 I-Team what they plan to do for people struggling to pay their upcoming property taxes.

"I usually carry between 10 and 12 school horses that are just available for lessons, and they're not working. I'm still feeding them," said Netta Schleden who owns Equidream School of Horsemanship in Grayslake.

Since the pandemic shut-down Illinois, her riding business has been stalled. She now has to come up with $4,000 in property taxes in less than two months.

"I'm worried I'm gonna have to go into my retirement money to pay by taxes," she said.

Lake County property owners will receive their property tax bills, as scheduled, and be expected to pay them by June 8.

The County Board decided against delaying the collection of taxes or waiving late payment fees and interest. The interest rates are 1.5% for the first month, 3% the second and 4.5% the third month.

The board decided not to increase salaries for elected officials. The committee also recommended freezing the salaries of the seven board members and lowering the salary of Board Chair Sandy Hart by eliminating the stipend received for serving as liquor commissioner.

"I'm just I'm just hoping that they show a little mercy and, you know, realize that it's not business as usual," said Schleden.

Board Chair Sandy Hart told the ITeam, "We want to do what we can to help our residents in this crisis, and we must be mindful of any unintended consequences to the essential services provided by other government agencies.

Property owners in McHenry County are getting some relief. Jack Franks, McHenry's County Chair, told the I-Team they are waiving late fees and interest for 90 days. That's the most help being offered in the six counties the I-Team contacted.

Gena Karpf, a pastry chef living in Naperville in DuPage County, said she's hoping there will be some relief for homeowners.

"We are talking about a lot of money. For somebody who - again I'm a pastry chef, and my industry has been hit very hard and my husband is self-employed as a piano teacher," she said.

The Karpfs pay $10,000 a year in property taxes. Their next payment is due June 1.

"Property taxes are due in June and September. And there is no money to pay it," said Karpf.

The DuPage County Finance Committee met Tuesday night to discuss relief options.

At that meeting, Gwen Henry, the DuPage County Treasurer said, "The county board could waive the penalties for 90 days for June 1st and wouldn't have them pay September 1st."

"The deferments need to be in line with what is happening to our economy. I know there are a lot of us in the same boat," said Karpf.
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