UPDATE: Which Town's Residents Pay Most In Taxes and Fees?

If you think you pay a lot, see how your town ranks.

Ever been irate at how much you pay in taxes and fees to your suburb?

It's hard to get a handle on which towns charge the most, because some have lower property taxes, but they may be offset by higher fees for water, garbage, vehicle stickers and other charges. 

The City of Park Ridge has come out with its annual ranking of what residents of 13 nearby towns pay annually for their municipal services. By considering all the monies residents pay, including property taxes and fees, it attempts to create an apples-to-apples comparison and determine who gets hit hardest in the pocketbook. 

In this survey, Morton Grove residents clearly earn the most sympathy. The average Morton Grove family pays $1719.89 annually in municipal taxes and fees. 

Patch originally reported that Morton Grove did not respond to the survey, but Barb Beil, who compiles the survey for the City of Park Ridge, confirmed at about noon Thursday that Morton Grove responded late. Beil, administrative assistant to the Park Ridge finance director, sent out a revised email with Morton Grove's information to the participating villages, but when the village of Niles compiled the pink chart accompanying this story, they did not include Morton Grove's information. The blue and white .pdf contains more complete information. 

"It’s interesting to note that page 1 of the survey shows that Morton Grove is the most efficient municipality with a per capita cost of only $1,190 compared to Niles which is $2,137.34," wrote Ryan Horne, Morton Grove's finance director, in an email. 

"Unfortunately Morton Grove has limited commercial business to offset or subsidize the costs for our residents. However, our residents should know that the Village of Morton Grove’s staff are dedicated to ensuring they get the most value for their money."

Evanston came in next, with the average resident paying $1,586.21 annually. 

Des Plaines came in as the third highest, at $1,376.10. Next were Glenview, at $968,  and Skokie, at $882.15.

Niles ranked the lowest, at $818. 25, a statistic touted by its officials. 

“An efficient government structure, a solid commercial property tax base and a strong sales tax base are the major reasons Niles residents pay less,” Mayor Robert M. Callero said in a statement.

George Van Geem, the village manager for Niles, said the fact that the municipality has no sewer or garbage hauling charges saves residents money.

He agreed a key factor for the village's low charges is its large retail base, which generates sales tax revenue.

"In Illinois, we're probably ranked 12th or 13th in [sales] tax-generating communities," said Van Geem. "If you can pay police and fire out of sales tax, you don't have to have high property taxes."

Beil, of Park Ridge, said her city does not publish the results, but uses them internally when staff and officials compile the budget. 

They look at comparables to other towns, she said, to see what other towns charge for various services. 

Jim Osburn May 12, 2011 at 08:40 PM
Will next year's report factor in buying and cleaning (yes, my dear they must be regularly laundered to avoid poisoning your family) new shopping bags when Ald Ann has her way and bans paper & plastic?
Lauren O'Keefe May 12, 2011 at 09:16 PM
There's nothing wrong with being negative if you are being realistic.
Jim Aparo May 13, 2011 at 12:25 AM
Seems that there's a page missing from the attachment. Morton Grove makes reference to an efficiency ranking? That would be interesting to see.
Neal Adams May 13, 2011 at 12:29 AM
Hi Jim. The missing page can be found on Morton Grove's website. I would assume this means that while it may be cheap to live in Niles, the low cost provider is Morton Grove. http://www.mortongroveil.org/resident/about/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=309
Gail Simone May 13, 2011 at 12:33 AM
Does it really matter about efficiency? I'm more concerned about how much it costs me to live here.
Karen Berger May 13, 2011 at 12:42 AM
Yes, Gail, efficiency does matter. I'd rather know that every hard earned dollar that gets 'extracted' from me has been stretched as far as possible. I'm not I agree with the idea that as long as I'm not paying too much you can be a little wasteful. But that's just me.
Clark Kent May 13, 2011 at 04:17 AM
From time to time it is (I admit) perversely entertaining to be briefly amused, and subsequently bored, by "proper Evanstonians" who shriek, jump up and down, and stomp their feet because any Republican breathes and lives. Their tiresome, outdated litanies about the decisions of Bush suggests their reading is limited to ludicrous campaign propaganda and lefty blogs. Wanna know where your money went? Call Quinn, Grabel, Schoenberg, Shakowsky, Biss, Durbin, Madigan, Cullerton, Suffredin and Stroger (if he's still is around). Then get a hold of that hot bed of right-wingers called the Evanston City/Township Government. Ask them to tell you about how they pass budgets which spend most of everybody's tax dollars...all local decisions. You deserve what you get, and I hope such local governments continue to take your money--- you voted them in, you pay for it. The history of the Socialist Peoples Republic of Evanston iterates H. L. Mencken's astute observation: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." Get them thar right-wingers! At 'em, comrades, we gotta save humanity!" The Blessed Savior in Washington has taxing "ideas" which transfer money and power from the few to the far fewer...and the salivating democratic Evanstonians clap from the sidelines, all secretly hoping that the alligator eats them last.
Clark Kent May 13, 2011 at 04:45 AM
@ Mr. Heinrich, number cruncher: Top org. PAC contributions to Obama’s 2008 campaign…… University of California $1,591,395 Goldman Sachs $994,795 Harvard University $854,747 Microsoft Corp $833,617 Google Inc $803,436 Citigroup Inc $701,290 JPMorgan Chase & Co $695,132 Time Warner $590,084 Sidley Austin LLP $588,598 Stanford University $586,557 National Amusements Inc $551,683 UBS AG $543,219 Wilmerhale Llp $542,618 Skadden, Arps et al $530,839 IBM Corp $528,822 Columbia University $528,302 Morgan Stanley $514,881 General Electric $499,130 US Government $494,820 Latham & Watkins $493,835 Recognize any names??? Who's lining up with whom? For the record (affidavit available if needed), Clark did not contribute one (appropriately termed) red cent to promote BO for Americans.
Clark Kent May 13, 2011 at 04:50 AM
Did you ask Mr. Callero why the misnomered "Free Bus," which costs taxpayers 500,000 bananas per year (plus matching federal largesse) is still running with hardly any passengers? I'm on the street everyday and I never see more than three riders. Gasoline prices are up, and my tax dollar is subsidizing a few customers for Golf Mill et al.
Richard Schulte May 13, 2011 at 12:58 PM
Mr. Heinrich, George Bush is no longer the president. I pretty much agree with your critique about the Bush Administration as stated above, but that was 2-1/2 years ago. The socialist health care scheme is ruining the economy and even though it hasn't begun yet, it's already a train wreck. The House passed a bill repealing Obamacare in January 2011, but the Senate hasn't and won't act on the repeal and the Socialist-in-Chief would veto the bill anyway. Most Americans would like to leave the recession behind, but President Obama insists on prolonging the misery. Yesterday the House passed a law titled "Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act". Approval of this law by the Senate and signature by the President would immediately reduce the price of oil. With the price of gasoline at $4/gallon, the economy is going to sink again. Maybe you've got a job and don't give a damn about anybody else, but there are plenty of Americans who would like to go back to work. We can't wait until November 2012 to go back to work. Blame the former president all you want, but that doesn't solve the problem. Right now the problem is the current occupant of the White House and Senator Reid.
Steve May 14, 2011 at 02:03 PM
Sure. You can have access to the public beaches...after you pay $25 for a token, per person. Our taxes apparently don't cover that.
Steve May 14, 2011 at 02:11 PM
Can we agree that most politicians are only worried about 1. making money and 2. getting re-elected.......regardless of party affiliations? Evanston has always been a tax-first ask questions later community. Need some cash? BOOM. Property taxes go up. It seems to be the first avenue of approach to any problem here. But I'm sure glad that our morals and small-town feel are intact. That's WAY more important to me than shelling out more and more money that I don't have to pay for all of the businesses who are being driven out of town. It's re-assuring to know that I'll have such a quaint community to declare bankruptcy in. (And for those about to post that if I don't like it, I can move out, just go ahead and write me a check for what I paid for my house and I'll gladly go.)
Lauren O'Keefe May 15, 2011 at 01:41 AM
Do you have to pay for the tokens now? That bites. When I lived there they used to be free to residents.
Richard Schulte May 15, 2011 at 12:20 PM
Mr. Kent (a.k.a. Superman), you must be mistaken. Those evil big corporations only support Republicans. Democrats are the party of the poor and down-trodden. Democrats would never have anything to do with wealthy people and that's why they nominated John Kerry for president in 2004. Errr, I mean. . . The corruption that is Cook County has been spread to the White House.
Deadcatbounce May 15, 2011 at 03:12 PM
Thank you Fuji. I religiously attend school board meetings and would just once, love to see another resident show up.
Richard Schulte May 16, 2011 at 02:26 PM
A good start would be to attend the screening of "Waiting for Superman" at the Evanston Public Library at 6:30 pm on May 25th. The film is a documentary about our public schools.
Richard Schulte May 16, 2011 at 05:36 PM
Here's an idea to reduce the cost of public services in Evanston. If 67 percent of tax revenue goes to the public schools, why not automate the schools. Computers replaced typewriters. The internet replaced newspapers and TV news. Computers have replaced libraries and books at least to some extent. Computerized robots replaced auto workers. Why not use computers to teach our children? Do we really need all of those expensive school buildings? Do we really need school buses to transport our children to and from schools? Do we really need all of those teachers? In the private sector, we have webinars and online meetings. Why not do the same in our schools? Seems like this is an approach to reducing the cost of education, while at the same time improving education. Certainly a computer can teach our children to do arithmetic and geometry. It would seem that this is a very "progressive" concept about how to deliver education to our children. Not my idea. It's simply amazing what you can learn on the internet. The idea came from the following article on the internet titled "Government Schools: Antiques Preserved in Political Amber" http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/05/government_schools_antiques_pr.html With Evanston being renowned for education, this sounds like the schools of the future. Why shouldn't Evanston be one of the first in the nation to implement "automated" education?
Debi Scholtes May 16, 2011 at 05:47 PM
Does anyone know?...Is the "Tilted Kilt" coming to Morton Grove since Evanston didn't want them? That would be revenue.....
Richard Schulte May 16, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Ms. Scholtes, I read somewhere, don't remember where now, that a Tilted Kilt was being planned for Morton Grove and that it had nothing to do with whether or not a Kilt was going to open in Evanston. It is also my understanding that plastic bags will still be available in Morton Grove even if Evanston bans plastic bags. If the plastic bag ban is adopted, folks from Evanston will have to shop in Skokie, Morton Grove or Wilmette in order to get their plastic bags. Evanston is doing its very best to destroy every business in Evanston, but Evanston's loss is Morton Grove's gain. Funny how that works.
Richard Schulte May 16, 2011 at 09:00 PM
Fuji, I'll consider it. It's difficult when you run your own business to spend time doing much of anything else. My solution to the lousy schools in Evanston was to send my son to a private school (Baker Demonstration School). Grades K-8 cost me $72 thousand. After Gov. Quinn's income tax increase, I decided it was time to head for greener pastures. I'm planning on moving my one-man business to Florida-it looks like sooner than later. (The income tax rate in Florida is 0%.) Evanston is pretty much "stuck on stupid". Sometimes you just have to let the train wreck happen before you can get people's attention. I do hope that you will attend "Waiting for Superman" at the Evanston Public Library. I haven't seen the documentary, but at least it's one solution. I took the time to join Michelle Rhee's studentsfirst.org. At least Michelle Rhee is trying.
Richard Schulte May 16, 2011 at 11:10 PM
Fuji, when is the next Board of Education meeting and where are the meetings held? I guess I could look it up for myself, but if you have the information at your fingertips, it would save some time. If you don't have the info at your fingertips, don't spend time trying to find it out-I'll do the research and post it. My son is in college now, so what happens in the school district doesn't affect me directly, but it affects every resident in the City.
Richard Schulte May 17, 2011 at 01:21 AM
Mr. Heinrich, just for the record, a study of the Obama/Pelosi $800 billion Stimulus Bill enacted in February 2009 addresses whether or not the spending spree accomplished anything. Abstract: "We estimate the Act created/saved 450 thousand government-sector jobs and destroyed/forestalled one million private sector jobs." Timothy Conley, Univ. of Western Ontario and Bill Dupor, The Ohio State University In other words, we spent $800 billion to lose 550, 000 jobs. Who in the heck spends taxpayer money to destroy jobs? Answer: Obama/Pelosi/Reid. What kind of president would spend taxpayer money to destroy jobs? It almost sounds like it was intentional. If it wasn't intentional, it certainly was incompetent. Source: http://web.econ.ohio-state.edu/dupor/arra10_may11.pdf Read it and weep. And you want to know why people in the private sector are ticked off. Well, now you know. The Obama Administration is incompetent (at best). And please don't start talking about the previous occupant of the White House-he's no longer the president.
Richard Schulte May 17, 2011 at 02:21 AM
Fuji, looks like the District 65 School Board meeting was this evening in Evanston. The next District 65 School Board meeting will be held on June 20th at 7 pm at 1500 McDaniel Avenue. I'm a little confused about the districts. District 65 is the Evanston/Skokie District. I'm not sure how District 68 fits into all of this. Since my son went to Baker Demonstration School, I never really paid too much attention to the public schools. (I wouldn’t allow my son to go to elementary school in Evanston.) If I haven't already moved to Florida, I think I'll stop by to see our local gov't in action and see what actually goes on. Based upon your description above, "astonished, angry and heartbroken", I'm a little bit afraid to find out. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.
Richard Schulte May 17, 2011 at 12:38 PM
"And if my preliminary, incomplete and “ballpark” estimates are correct, according to the website information, Skokie School District 68 is spending about $20,000.00 per student or 30 students x $20,000.00= $600,000.00 per class." Fuji, thank you for the education!!!
Deadcatbounce May 18, 2011 at 05:51 PM
You need to look at this school's ISAT scores Skokie SD 68 ... http://webprod.isbe.net/ereportcard/publicsite/getSearchCriteria.aspx The teachers and administrators in this school are paid more than state average. There are also more administrators than state average. I would also be concerned at why the Asian scores are below the state average too. School needs to give you answers
Richard Schulte May 18, 2011 at 06:32 PM
"I always thought public officials that are paid by you and me, the tax payer’s, work for us, not the other way around?" Fuji, apparently you didn't get the memo. Public officials working for the taxpayers-what a quaint concept. I'm looking for the memo which announced that taxpayers are now the public servants and are required to serve the public officials. When I find it, I'll post of copy of the memo. Thank you for all of your hard work on our behalf. Thumbs up. Your posts are quite informative!!!! Kudos. Keep up the good work.
Frank May 18, 2011 at 08:05 PM
Mr. Schulte, you missed my point (as did a few others). Whoever took over the presidency after Bush (Repulican or Demorcrat) was going to feel the need to spend an enormous amount of money to "jump start" the economy. The majority of politicians are crooks in my eyes. That money didn't make it to everyone that it was supposed to. The point was that the Bush admin. was talking about using the money and then the Obama admin. came in and took over where they left off and spent the money. As for the health care debacle, it seems interesting how all the candidates were in favor of universial health care when they were running for office and it seemed like such a compassionate idea for politicians to want ALL of Americans to have health care! So now it hasn't gone as planned, and we all agree on that. I contend at this point that it is a lot easier to point out all the problems, but who is coming up with good solutions! Both parties have succeeded in polarizing the nation! We are so much into the whole Democrat vs. Republican debate right now and it is ridiculous! How come Dems and Rep. Senators and Congressmen don't ever cross their respective parties on issues? Politics has become a joke in this country! Obama is doing a mediorcre job, Bush did a horrible job, Reagan and Clinton did a mediocre job. Is there ever going to be a president that we all agree is doing a great job? Probably not. And... regardless of who is in the White House there is this TAXATION issue!
Frank May 18, 2011 at 08:10 PM
This is Evanston Patch right? Our school districts are Evanston/Skokie District 65 and Evanston Township High School District 202. As for attending School Board meetings, I couldn't agree more with Fuji about people attending the meetings. The only point I would like to make is that the meetings are usually broadcast on local cable networks. I don't attend the board meetings but I do watch them a few days later on cable. And as for Boards making a difference, we have two new board members in the District 202, so hopefully we will see some changes at ETHS!
Richard Schulte May 18, 2011 at 08:32 PM
Mr. Heinrich, thank you for your elaboration regarding your comments, but I beg to differ on a few points. The $800 billion stimulus did indeed make it to its intended target. The purpose of the $800 billion stimulus was to create a "slush fund" to be used to reward supporters of one particular political party. The jobs of gov't employees were indeed saved, at the expense of private sector businesses and employees. While the employment rate of the private sector was nosediving, the employment rate of public sector workers was being increased. Yes, that's correct, governments were actually adding employees while the private sector was laying off employees. This is easily seen with what's happening in the public sector now. The stimulus has been blown and now public employees, including teachers, are learning about the recession-2 years later. This was classic Chicago politics-reward your voters with money from the public trough and screw-over the voters from the other party. There is only one problem with politics as practiced in Chicago-the party in power in Chicago ran the city into the ground. Mayor Daley decided to get the hell out of Dodge before the financial disaster which he and his aldermen created blew-up. So far, Mayor Rahm seems like a breath of fresh air, but I wouldn't bet on things changing very much. The problem with politics today is that nobody seems to have the nation's best interest at heart.
Lonnie wilson May 18, 2011 at 09:58 PM
BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH, all of you no know we dont get the bang for our buck whoever is to blame, I voted for Obama and he a crook too! This story is about have and have nots and the haves have their S--t together! No why we dont ? we are all to busy pointing fingers and not working for change!! You know what the folks robbing us fear MOST ? when we start talking as if we are all in the dingy being towed by the Yacht!!


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