Rockford’s proposed Property Tax Refund Program could cause tax rates to rise

Initially, the Rockford Homebuyer’s Property Tax Refund Program appears to be a well-intentioned proposal to eliminate some of the blight in the city and to revitalize home values. The program gives property tax refunds for three years to those who build single-family homes, or buy foreclosed or “short-sale” homes as their primary residence, anywhere within the City of Rockford, if the homes are under contract by the end of the year. After the property owners, who purchase a qualifying home, pay their normal property taxes, the city will...

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Inserting taxpayers back into Rockford TIF approval process

To reiterate my previous post, unelected officials, who represent each affected taxing district on a Joint Review Board, during the initial phases of the Rockford Tax Increment Finance approval process, typically do not inform their district’s elected officials of the scheduled state mandated JRB meetings and then fail to attend the meetings themselves. Taxpayers are thus provided little or no representation at the JRB meetings, despite the fact that TIF approval affects area property taxes for 23 years. The tax revenue diverted from the...

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TIF approval removes taxpayers from portion of process

About 18 months ago, I posted concerning the Joint Review Board (JRB), consisting of non-elected representatives from specified local taxing districts, convened by the city to determine if newly proposed Rockford Tax Increment Finance (TIF) districts meet the eligibility requirements of municipal state code. The board consists of 9 members, one selected from each – Community College, school district, park district, library district, township, fire protection district, the county, the municipality requesting the TIF, all of which have...

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Rockford Public Library’s amnesty too lenient with taxpayer’s money

An inexcusable 62% of the library’s  57,554 cardholders owe the library for overdue returns or lost items. That’s far too many people to consider amnesty – 35,684, who owe fines and/or have not returned books and other devices! To put this embarrassment into its proper perspective, tardy or dropout library patrons don’t owe the library a thing. They owe the taxpayers who fund the library. It’s our money that’s being abused and our books and devices that haven’t been returned, not the city’s....

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Legal and financial consequences of home rule in Rockford

Home rule, created by the Illinois Constitution in 1970, allows municipalities to raise taxes, pass ordinances to address local problems, and do just about anything not prohibited by state law. Non-home-rule communities can do only what the state law stipulates. Proponents of home rule always opine that the issue appears to boil down to a lack of trust in our elected officials not to excessively raise taxes without voter approval. In 1983, after two consecutive years of excessive tax increases, home rule opponents obtained 10,800 signatures...

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