Letters: High on Costs, Low on Justice

Monday, October 30, 2017 || By Amy Luke || OPINION || @maywoodnews 

I want to thank the Chicago Tribune for its recent articles documenting the dramatic inequity in water rates across Chicagoland. I live and work in Maywood and have been mortified by the ever-increasing water bills my neighbors and I are faced with.

The fact that so many water shut-off notices have been issued in our community was one I was not aware of; unfortunately, however, it doesn’t surprise me.

Our problems in Maywood don’t stop at high water rates. We also must deal with high property taxes and an arbitrary method of assessing real estate values.

The assessed value of our home in Maywood increased by $50,000 with this recent assessment.  That means our taxes, on a home newly assessed at $211,000, will be $11,573 — an effective tax rate of 5.4 percent.

That, of course, is assuming I could sell my home at the assessed value, which is extremely far from assured. So, the effective tax rate is likely even higher.

After the county denied our appeal on the assessment of our home, I reread the series of Chicago Tribune articles detailing how the system that the county uses to assess real estate values for tax purposes favors wealthy communities over poorer ones.

The whole process, from assessment to appeals, seems very arbitrary. For instance, while we were denied, most of my neighbors received nominal reductions in their assessments. I have filed for a re-review, but this in itself is wrong and does not address the root problems.

From a social justice perspective, we should be alarmed that the 15 communities with the highest tax rates are all predominantly African American and low-income.

When you combine these taxes with the lack of services, the lack of viable business districts, and failing schools, our poor communities have no way up. Homeowners are paying exorbitantly for the poorest community attributes possible.

This is clearly a public health issue and it is discriminatory. In addition to outlining this reality, we need to take action. What can we do to solve this? And why isn’t there more outrage about these injustices? VFP 

Amy Luke is a Maywood resident and a board member for Maywood Fine Arts. 

P A I D  A D

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3 thoughts on “Letters: High on Costs, Low on Justice”

  1. First…I want to applaud Amy Luke for having the courage to type up her opinion in “The Village Free Press.” Here are some things that I will try my best to answer your questions:

    What can the village of Maywood do to solve this problem is attend the town hall meetings as a group, and build a coalition to let your voice be heard during the “Public Comment” time. Educate yourself on the trustees, the mayor of Maywood, and the Village Manager (who actually runs Maywood, IL) and hold them accountable. Also, when the next local election comes up…research your candidates on who is running and vote. That is the only way that the residents of Maywood will see major progressive changes. It’s very heartbreaking that a population of 15,000+, only 2,500+ only voted. SMH

    Why isn’t there more outrage in the village of Maywood about the high water bill taxes, maybe because some don’t really care and don’t get involved in their community to really educate themselves on how the Village Manager, trustees and the Mayor of Maywood is making choices everyday for their community. That is not going to move Maywood forward. I have been typing up these comments that residents really need to be proactive in their community. Residents need to participate in their village by attending town hall meetings, board of education meetings, and etc. I cannot really say this in an abstract way, but it is up the village of Maywood if they want to see progressive changes. It takes the who village of Maywood!

  2. This article is going to get things going. The Fine Art people are known for doing big things. It’s going to rase some red flags, if they are feeling the heat, then there’s got to be something wrong. Thanks go out to them, they have done a lot for the community for a long time. I love way she went about voicing her comment, she didn’t settle for two minutes in a town meeting. Instead she used a great format that will reach many more citizens. Much love to all.

    1. SISCO KID: Me too. I too hope that the article that Amy Luke wrote can definitely get things going for the Village of Maywood. This is a first stepping stone. The second is having a group of residents coming to the village hall on 5th Ave. by above the Maywood Police Department and participate in the “citizens comment” and discuss about what is going on with the high water bill. I hope that one resident has a cell phone a record the meeting for records and evidence. Let’s go Maywood!

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