WICKER PARK — Are you a Wicker Park, Bucktown or West Town property owner who is experiencing fear, frustration or angst regarding property taxes?
Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi will be visiting the Northwest Side Wednesday night to discuss property tax calculations and changes to property tax methodology. He’ll also answer your questions about the way this all works.
Meet Kaegi at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Wicker Park Fieldhouse, 1425 N. Damen Ave.
The Wicker Park Committee, a group of neighborhood leaders, organized Kaegi’s visit, which coincides with the group’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting. For more information about the Wicker Park Committee, visit the group’s website.
Can’t make it Wednesday, but want to learn more about the $838 million budget gap facing Chicago?
Consider participating in a free 1st Ward educational budget event from 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Wells Community Academy High School, 936 N. Ashland Ave.
During the event, Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) and his staff plan to explain the ins and outs of Chicago’s financial mess.
Kaegi: Why the city’s $838 budget gap could force Lightfoot to raise property taxes — again
On Oct. 16, Mayor Lori Lightfoot will propose a budget to City Council, one that she has said she will likely involve several different strategies to Chicago’s financial mess.
Increasing property taxes, Lightfoot has said, is a last resort.
“I want to avoid that measure as much as possible, but if
we don’t get the structural changes that our pensions need
. . . we will be presented with very hard and limited
options,” she said in an Aug. 29 speech.
In an interview with Block Club, Kaegi explained what Lightfoot meant; without the support of Gov. JB Pritzker and state legislators, property tax increases could still be on the table.
The alternative solutions Lightfoot seeks — overhauling the workers compensation program, re-examining pension spending and introducing casinos and marijuana dispensaries, for example — are tools at the city’s disposal, but only if the county and state play ball, Kaegi said.
“The state is a really important partner in all of this, so we don’t have to revert to the regressive revenue solutions that are left,” he said. “I think she’s pitch perfect in what she said.”
Kaegi continued, “All of the easy solutions that one could adopt unilaterally, many of those solutions are off the board,” he said, meaning those revenue streams won’t work without state or county buy-in. “One of the last unilateral solutions that’s left is property taxes. And she’s rightly focusing on the things that we can address together.”
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