Jan’s Public Comment for DuPage Co 4/28/2020

The DuPage County board met virtually. I submitted the following as Public Comments to be read into the record for both the finance meeting (where it was to be discussed) and the Regular Board Meeting (where approved).

On 4/14/2020 the Daily Herald ran an article titled: “DuPage County Board members appear to support a proposal to waive late fees for residents unable to pay their property taxes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Then on 4/17/2020 a follow-up titled “DuPage schools concerned about impact of potential property tax delays.” According to the second article, “A letter signed by 34 [out of 42 DuPage school] superintendents asks county board members to consider ‘important facts’… Educators are concerned that removing late penalties could lead to delayed revenue for districts and force several to do short-term borrowing just to make payroll.”

That statement comes across as greedy and tone-deaf.  Worse yet, I believe it is FALSE. The property tax money normally comes half in June and the second half, three months later in September. It must last all year.  The low point for end-of-month cash-on-hand is normally the end of May.  So long as the schools receive at least 25% of their property tax revenue by June 1, another 25% by Sept. 1, the third 25% by Dec. 1 and the remainder by March 1, they should be just fine. I suspect other taxing bodies follow a similar pattern.

We also know that many taxpayers will have already put the money in escrow, or be willing and able pay on time. This proposal should not be debilitating to any local governing agency. Let’s give our neighbors who have truly been hurt by this government-induced shutdown a break.

The proposed “waiver request form” can be found on page 460 of the packet for the 4/28 finance meeting, and is to be voted on at the 4/28 10:00 am regular board meeting. Thank you for making it only one page.  However, the reasons for requesting are incomplete at best and “greedy and tone deaf” at worse.

  1. I was laid off or terminated from employment after March 9, 2020 and was employed at least ninety (90) days prior
  2. I rent the subject parcel and have not been able to collect rent since March 1, 2020
  3. I operate a business that has been shutdown due to being classified as a non-essential business and I have not applied for the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) of the Coronavirus, Aid Relief & Economic Security Act.

Why not something as simple as

“I/We cannot pay the entire first property tax installment on time, because our income is substantially diminished due to the COVID government-ordered shutdown.”

If you really want statistics for reasons, you left out:

  • I took a pay cut
  • I work on commission and sales are down due to the shut down
  • My business, while deemed “essential” is suffering from a sharp decrease in sales.

You also should remove the caveats on the original three reasons.

 

Many who applied for the Paycheck Protection Program have yet to be approved and may or may not ever see any money. And even those who receive PPP money may still be struggling.   If our government doesn’t help these small businesses survive this, we may no longer have a tax base to continue funding all the government programs in future years.

I’d drop the “under the penalty of perjury” line – It’s not worth enforcing it anyway.  I’d add line for enclosing an optional partial payment. And be sure to enclose a copy of the form with every property tax bill.

This proposal, if properly passed, will be seen as positive by the whole community.

Did it have any effect?  You decide.

The proposed “waiver request form” as found on page 460 of the packet for the 4/28 finance meeting: prop tax waive form

The press release detailing what was approved: dupageco.org/Content.aspx?id=62764

Letter-to-the-Editor, submitted 4/21 but not published: dupagewatchdog.org/2020/04/29/give-taxpayers-a-break

What I e-mailed to the DuPage Co. Board on Friday 4/21 LTE sent to DH w CARES JanS

DuPage Co School Superintendent’s letter edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2020/04/dupage-county-school-district-superintendents-letter-to-district-4-county-board-member-let-this-sink-in/

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