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.