Niles Must Be Fair To Taxpayers, Schools, Business

It's good to encourage business, but Niles has to have a plan for granting tax breaks. Otherwise it could end up hurting schools, park districts and individual homeowners. A Letter to the Editor from four Niles trustees.


The following Letter to the Editor represents the views of the authors alone. Patch merely serves as a platform for writers to express their opinions.

Policy Must be Rational, Honest and Fair

Sometimes in government there are terms and definitions which seem confusing or even awkwardly simple, yet do not really indicate what the meaning and implications are to their use by local governments.

Such is the case with Cook County 6(B) tax incentive requests.

Earlier: Niles Board Holds Off On Granting Tax Break To Business 

The County Assessor’s office has a document which clearly states the meaning and purpose of the 6(B): “The Class 6b classification is designed to encourage industrial development throughout Cook County by offering a real estate tax incentive for the development of new industrial facilities, the rehabilitation of existing industrial structures, and the industrial reutilization of abandoned buildings. The goal of Class 6b is to attract new industry, stimulate expansion and retention of existing industry and increase employment opportunities.”

This is good and effective public policy to maintain business growth in a particular area. Interested readers can access the Assessor’s web site for a more detailed explanation. 

At the November board meeting a majority of the village trustees were presented almost at the “last minute” with such a request. We were being asked to approve a 6B application, but we had no detailed plan as to how village government was to analyze this important document.

We requested the administration to prepare a memorandum which would detail what is involved in granting such a request and for the long term implications of such an action…in fact, action which would affect tax assessments for the next twelve years. We passed the 6b application for the requested property with the promise that we would receive an organized plan for future consideration of any 6b.

To our knowledge the matter was turned over to our former village manager who apparently did not prepare the analysis which we requested.

In fact, it would have been a relatively easy matter for the village administration to suggest even the basics for such action, which has already been in place in neighboring suburbs (See the procedures which Glenview follows). In reading the Glenview procedures, please note that Glenview includes the school districts and their park district in the information/decision-making process. They should be included since each of the districts must bear the results of new assessments. 

At the Niles Village Board meeting on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 (click here for video of meeting), we again faced a situation in which the administration and a trustee demanded that another 6B request be voted on immediately. Our concerns had not been addressed by the administration and we were not going to be stampeded like crazed cattle in some cowboy movie to act without knowing the full implications for our actions.

We postponed action. It would not be fair to the company, which we sincerely want to remain in Niles, to the schools, to the park district, to the library district or to the property owners of Niles who might have their assessments refigured in ways in which they might object.

We trustees took oaths of office to do the public business with honesty, sincerity and with knowledge of what our actions mean. It is of no value to exhibit emotional behavior as a method of convincing trustees to cast a vote in a particular way. In board meetings, we meet and act as public servants, and will always continue to do so with dignity and aplomb. Our public meetings are for the purpose of public policy, not private agendas.


Village of Niles Trustees

Rosemary Palicki

Louella Blaine Preston

James Hynes

Christopher Hanusiak

HARRY ACHINO December 16, 2012 at 02:13 AM
I have just found something I can agree with Chris Hanusiak. His comments scream he is not qualified to become mayor of Niles. He looks to other suburbs like Glenview to cover up the fact that he is the worst trustee ever elected in Niles. Let's face it if he is in this much over his head now, what kind of mayor will he be? He and his coharts have a habit of always passing the buck, and blaming everything on deprtment heads and village employess. Remeber Chris, when you are always pointing the finger at someone else, there all always four pointing right back at you. in April and Hynes and Preston will be gone and in two years so will you. Look at the war zone on Milwaukee Ave., I know all those hanging wires are the states fault. When the state was late on the underpass on Milwaukee Ave., and At &T had that hiddeous cell phone tower, remember what Mayor Blase did? Oh I forgot you didn't live in Niles then. When it was pointed out you were wrong about the 6b, your ego would not allow to move off your rediculous position. What was sad about the whole situation the village got what they expected from Hines and Preston, but you have now dragged Rosemary Palicki in with you. I think Ms. Palicki is a brilliant woman, but as I always told my kids, if you hang around a certain group they will ruin you. I think she can have a major positive impact on the village and would be willing to meet with her to explain exactly how. Next topic: Why the Ethics Board is a joke.
HARRY ACHINO December 16, 2012 at 04:20 AM
HARRY ACHINO December 16, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Matthew Lagodzinski December 18, 2012 at 03:40 PM
In principle, I agree that there needs to be criteria to either approve or deny 6B requests. In the absence of that being defined prior to this request, I don’t think its fair to penalize the requestor. That being said, after watching the video it seemed clear to me that a more constructive discussion could have been attained if the request was presented a bit differently. The issue seemed to boil down to the following decision tree. The property is currently vacant, collecting 22k worth of taxes. First question, considering all of the repairs required, is it likely the property sell without a 6B (to any investor)? If the answer to that is No, then I think the response is to approve and collect the additional 14k in taxes for whatever that duration is. If the answer is Yes, then the question is, how long is the Village willing to wait to for a buyer to purchase outright without a dependency for the 6b (80k range)? From that decision, you can calculate the lost opportunity in collecting tax revenue with the 6B while hedging for that purchase without the 6B. If in the long run that is more palatable for the Village, then the vote should be to deny. Obviously there are other considerations, perceptions of being anti-business, etc. I think this will be the hard part to include in any parameters going forward as there will need to be subjectivity in creating a risk profile based on the property and location and not necessarily the investor.
HARRY ACHINO December 18, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Very well put Matthew. This should be put into future considerstion for any upcoming B6 requests. But sadly it took a citizen and not one of our trustees to figure this out. What you proposed was a classic win-win. The end of your comment hit it out of the park. AS the long as petty political squabbles are the norm in Niles, the perception of anti-business climate will drive jobs and investment away.


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