Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Avon Township Race goes Point counter-Point

Taken verbatim from the websites of each Avon Township Slate....


Avon Forward Promises Change, But Can They Deliver?

Our opponents (Avon Forward) have been quoted saying some rather interesting things in the media since the start of the campaign. As we all know, words are meaningless unless they are backed up by actions. We looked at their claims and promises, and we have found a couple that no matter what they might say, they just cannot deliver on.

How can we make such a claim? By standing on the facts and demonstrating our experience with township government. For example, the Avon Forward party has claimed that their policy is the "Reversing the over $40,000 pay raises for elected officials as well as reducing overall salaries for elected official" (source - Avon Forward Website). As much as they might want to do this, they simply cannot. Why?

According to Illinois statutes, the salary increases are set in advance of the election and cannot be changed once the resolution is passed. This is done to prevent elected officials from voting themselves a pay increase after they take office. We verified this information with the Townships Officials of Illinois organization.

Avon Forward's Response on their website

”Avon Forward Promises Change, But Can They Deliver?”
Our Stance: Our answer is plain and simple ... Absolutely! Avon One appears to be concerned with ending business as usual at the township hall, but Avon Forward embraces the opportunity to better serve the residents and end the archaic policies of the past. Based on their statements, Avon One is the party committed to the "cannot" approach while Avon Forward is the party committed to the "can do" approach. Avon Forward is the party of ideas and "can do" attitude.

Avon One states, Avon Forward Party's commitment to reversing the over $40,000 in pay raises for elected township officials, which was unanimously approved by the Avon One Party, “simply cannot” be done.
Our Stance: Avon One's claims that pay raises for elected township officials cannot be reversed in no way justifies them passing these pay raises, especially in these economic times. Avon Forward is committed to reversing these pay raises and cutting salaries to elected township officials even if that means having to wait until the question is voted on again. Even if the pay raises cannot immediately be reversed, that does not prevent the Avon Forward candidates from donating those pay raises back to the township to offset operating expenses and reduce the increased tax burden on residents, which these pay raises have created.


Anonymous said...

Avon One Now is pretty funny trying to spin the issues by challenging Avon Forward about not being able to reverse the pay raises they voted into place. When the real the conversation should be about why they approved the pay raises for elected officials when a large percentage of their constituents are dealing with pay cuts, layoffs and under employment on top of increases in their property taxes?

Perhaps if Avon One Now were thinking in the spirit of service to the public that elected them they would of held their salaries as they are and there would not have been a need for the 8.7% tax levy level on the homeowners of Avon Township.

Anonymous said...

Avon One is at it again. Misstating the truth to the residents of Avon Township. From stating on their web page that they are the party of fiscal responsibility (Really, $40,000 in pay raises, including a 15% pay raise for the Assessor is fiscally responsible?), to Supervisor Christian stating, at the November meeting concerning the levy increase, that such a increase only affects the new construction owners (in reality, all the residents of Avon Township will be forced to pay higher taxes on account of the levy increase.)
Now Avon One is claiming that Avon Forward and Tom Brust are proposing the elimination of the Avon Township Highway Department. But I have read Avon Forward’s web page and they do not propose to eliminate the highway department-why is Avon One misstating the facts? Avon Forward simply wants to find a way to end the double taxation on residents of incorporated areas of Avon Township. At least Avon Forward is working towards a solution to this unfair problem, while Avon One, and the current highway commissioner, who has held the office for the past 24 years, have done nothing to remedy this problem. Why is it that Avon One is the party of inaction, except when it comes to their pay? I say vote for the party and candidates that are willing to extend themselves and try to make Avon Township better and solve the problems, rather than say it can’t be done.

Anonymous said...

I know so many people who are concerned about losing their jobs or who lost their jobs. I find Avon One's (or any elected officials') decision to vote in these pay raises for elected officials to be disheartening. I think elected officials who voted to approve pay increases need to all be swept out of office.

Kristal Lynn said...

Anonymous 1 & 2
The increases of 3% and 4% is below the standard cost of living increase offered yearly by corporations. The increase to the Assessor at a whopping 15% has that position STILL being underpaid based on the number of properties the assessor's office is responsible for while maintaining some of the lowest assessment costs per property in the county.

As for tax levies - Avon currently accounts for 1.5% to 1.7% of the total property tax bill - the county average is 3%. If that's not keeping costs down, I'm not sure what is. It should be noted that an 8.7% levy is actually

"Avon Forward simply wants to find a way to end the double taxation on residents of incorporated areas of Avon Township."

According to Illinois Statutes, the Highway Department must tax all bodies within the township to support the highway commission as long at 4 miles or more of roads reside and are maintained by the township or multi-township jurisdiction. If the residents have used Shorewood or Drury Lane in the past four years as a shortcut or traffic bypass from the 83/Rollins/Hainesville road debacle then they have used township roads and should help to cover the costs of maintaining them just the same as the people who live there. If the community in general enjoys a public bike path provided by the township, should the community not help to pay for that improvement as well?

PS: Anyone care to post a response using their real identity? I don't see much (any) of that on this "non-partisan" blog.

Anonymous said...

Chris-Please provide me your last name, so we all know who you are.
Wow-you must be related to someone at Avone One, because your comments are so off base.
Avon has some of the lowest assessments? Where do you get that? Oh yea, we have more parcels, so the assessments are lower per parcel. What a joke. Low assessments, just check with the business owners on Route 83-you are dead wrong.
If your analogy holds for the highway department, then everyone that uses Center street for a short-cut should pay tax, even if they live in Gurnee or Antioch-not how it works.
Do you have any idea how much more property and people are involved in Lake County as opposed to Avon Township? Of course Lake County taxes more, but you miss the point. Why not cut the taxes or do you like paying more than you should? If so, let me sell you a few of my products.
And why are you caught up with the 4 miles of road? Avon Forward never said they were eliminating the highway department. Have you heard of Shields Township? They are looking into an SSA (do you know what that means?) for the unincorproated residents-sounds good to me.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Chris, I see you last name is Larson. Umm, just like the Avon One Clerk, Molli Larson-guess I answered my question as to who is related to whom. Thanks for the unbiased comment. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey this is an interesting site. it certainly keeps you aware of what's going on in L.C. I don't understand the point of townships. I moved here from IA about a year ago and they have no townships; the county provides the services. Townships in IL seem like an unneeded layer of government and township officials seem to be paid an awful lot of money for what they do. With the economy in the gutter, if these folks did approve over $40,000.00 in pay raises for the elected officials than they should be ashamed of themselves. It's very unfair to any taxpayer (myself included) who is concerned about their own income and job security.

Kristal Lynn said...

Yes, I am related to the clerk. Yes, this is a blog and all comments are biased and opinionated.

I did not state "lowest assessments" as you put it, but "lowest cost per assessment". Avon Township costs less than $10 per parcel to perform the assessment. Compared to townships like Zion, Cuba and Shields which are in excess of $20/parcel and Newport which is over $32/parcel - just to assess the property (source: Lake County Assessors Association 2008 Salary Survey).

In terms of percentage of tax bill that goes to the township - those figures come from Lake County. The 2007 total tax levy for Avon Township was about half of the county average per parcel. Also, this is down over 50% from what the tax levy was back in 1989. That's a consistent reduction in township government costs over the past 20 years.

I would love for my tax bill to go down, but $6000 of my $6100 dollars I pay annually goes towards schools, village government, fire protection, forest preserves, libraries and parks. If another $100 makes my township look clean, maintained and provides social services to the residents, that's a small price to pay.

By the way, didn't get your name still.

Anonymous said...

Problem is Chris, you don't look at things from an every person perspective, just from keeping your relative in power. Your comments ring hollow.
But "Avon Township costs less than $10 per parcel to perform the assessment." That is not what the survey means, all the survey does is take the elected officials pay and divides that by the number of parcels. Avon has more subdivided property, hence the lower figure. It has nothing to do with assessments. However, with the new raises, over $40,000, figured in, that number rises quite a bit.
And why would I want to give you my name and have my assessments go up, as you already stated you are related to Molli.
The levy thing, that has to do with all the new construction in the township since 1989 and not anything that Avon One has done.

LC Truth said...

Now this is what blogging is all about :-)...point-counter-point

Kristal Lynn said...

Given the opportunity, how would you lower the taxes? You have plenty of counters to the arguments and facts put forth, but no hard numbers to back your arguments up. I would like to see the fact that back your arguments and to understand how you personally would go about making it better. Convince me that your slate can do better.

I gave some thought to the SSA concept that Shields is considering because I wanted to better understand the implications there. I think that the attempt to migrate the unincorporated areas to an SSA for managing the roads is admirable in concept. Has anyone provided a cost or cost per resident breakdown for maintaining those roads, providing snow removal, mowing and refuse removal and costs that go back to the township for road signs or other actions that the highway department is still responsible for? I'd be curious to see if the cost per resident is more or less than the current amount they are seeing on their tax bill. I know my SSA costs more than my township+municipal tax bill each year, and that's lumped on top.

Finally, it saddens me that you cling to this anonymity. Using a statement like "And why would I want to give you my name and have my assessments go up..." is pure lunacy. If the value of property in your neighborhood increases, the cost of maintaining it falls in line with that. If you feel that your assessed value is overstated, go to the county and have them review the case.(For the record - despite my relationship to said Township Clerk, my assessed value fell in line with a recent, independent appraisal of my home.)

If you need a starting place, try visiting the Lake County website and check out yours and your neighbors assessments in their transparent and easy to use system to find out if your home value is in the same general area as your neighbors.

Anonymous said...

I can sympathize with the comments made by Avontruthsayer. After speaking out about the Avon Township Assessor, the assessments on my home went sky HIGH. My appeal to the county board of review went over like a lead ballon. They did not care at all that my home was over assessed and actually treated me like scum for even coming before them. It was very upsetting. I do not blame AvonTruthSayer for being concerned that their assessments may go up for their comments against the current township officials. Its too bad that in the world's greatest democracy that we have to be concerned about such things.

Anonymous said...

Assessments or a dollar value of assessments per parcel is a 'made up' statistic.
If a Township government wants to justify higher assessments, additional levies (at twice the CPI), all they have to do is sub-divide current parcels or work toward adding parcels (possibly not directly though via contact with villages in the township, commercial property land-owners, etc).

Statistics can tell you anything you want; just ask the pharmaceutical industry!

However, excessive raises for less than genuine, transparent, and fiscally responsible behavior is not what should be tolerated in any governmental agency. And this is regardless of the percentage of the total property tax bill the governmental agency comprises. Public funds should spent wisely -as occurs at the Village of Grayslake for the most part - regardless of whether they are spent by a school district, a county, or a village.

LC Truth said...

Just a reminder that there is a Terms of Services (TOS) Agreement for Eye on Lake County and comments will be deleted for TOS violations

Anonymous said...

The reason the "cost per assessment" is so low is because they have my house assessed as having vinyl siding and over 3k more square feet than my lot really has (per the recorded plat of survey).

Obviously, they have never been near my wood sided house or the recorder's office.

So, in reality, since they really AREN'T doing any assessing, the cost PER assessment is pretty darn high.

Anonymous said...

So happy to have found this page. Does anyone know how difficult it is to reach the Avon Township Assessor at his office? He's just not there very much, which of course makes it particularly difficult to ask questions, appeal one's taxes, etc. I wonder where he is...he does have his own appraisal business, which is very interesting, isn't it? Maybe it IS time for a change.

Anonymous said...

Great discussion. I, like New Comer, am from out west (NM & AZ) and don't understand why the township even exists. Is a township even needed? Can it be dissolved and whatever unique duties it has be transferred to another governemnt entity (state, county or village)?

Since I'm on the topic of government waste. What about the school districts? Can they be unified to eliminate the redundant administrative overhead?

Anonymous said...

Avononetruthsayer does not deserve the time you spend to read his posts. He has no idea what it takes to provide the services he enjoys and thinks that wishing something equals making it happen. His refusal to relinquish his "anonymity" disqualifies him from any statement he makes regarding the postings of anyone on this site...when someone is willing to go on the record and he is not, then "Avononetruthsayer" is nothing but a whiner with no ideas. If his ideas are so great, then let him stand openly for them. Hiding behind his self-serving moniker is pathetic.

Avontruthsayer said...

WHO WON!!!!!