St. Charles mayoral candidate Jotham Stein on Monday launched another salvo at the City Council, saying that a series of ordinances the council passed unanimously during its Monday night meeting amount to a 5.2 percent tax increase for city residents.
“I have repeatedly opposed raising our property taxes during these difficult economic times, and tonight I decry the City Council’s decision to raise our property tax rate yet again, by 5.2 percent,” Stein said in a release a campaign supporter issued to the media at the City Council Chambers.
“I am also saddened by the disingenuous statements that taxes aren’t going up. Of course taxes are going up,” he said. “Next year, St. Charles residents will pay an average of $42 more in taxes for every $100,000 of assessed value in their homes. In these tough economic times, “holding the tax levy constant” means raising the property tax rate so property owners pay more of the value of their homes in taxes, while at the same time, the values of houses decline.”
City officials have said repeatedly the average resident will not see a change in the city’s portion of their property tax bill, because the tax rate is being increased to compensate for the 5.2 percent drop in homes values. It’s a common tactic in communities trying to maintain the same level of revenues during an economic downturn. But Stein dismisses the notion that it is not a tax increase.
“In times like now, when property values go down, the aldermen raise our tax rate and we pay more per dollar of value of our homes to the city,” Stein said in the release. “If the city and all the other taxing agencies (e.g., school board, Kane County, etc.) keep raising our tax rates, all of us will be so heavily burdened by property taxes that it will be difficult for some to pay the taxes, and the value of our homes may go down even more because fewer people will want to buy homes with such high property tax rates.”
The solution Stein advocates is to not raise property tax rates but to recruit more businesses, which would generate the additional revenue the city is seeking from residents.
“From East Side to West Side to Downtown St. Charles, there are empty retail, empty office and empty manufacturing spaces,” he said in the release. “If we fill just some of these empty spaces, St. Charles will have the tax revenue it needs not only to keep the property tax rate flat, but to lower property taxes.”
“My top priority as mayor will be to bring businesses into our city,” he said in the release. “I am a business lawyer and published author, and for more than 20 years, my job has been to give business and legal advice to companies of all sizes, and to those who manage them. … Instead of seeing businesses leave St. Charles or close altogether, as mayor, I will actively recruit new business investment to St. Charles, nurture start-up businesses, and help businesses that are here but struggling.”
Earlier Monday, Stein also announced in the release, he filed his candidacy papers for the April 2013 mayoral election. He said his nominating petitions have signatures from residents in each of the city’s five wards.
Stein, a resident of the city’s 5th Ward, faces competition in the mayoral race from 3rd Ward Alderman Raymond Rogina, 4th Ward resident John Rabchuk, and Jake “Wayne” Wyatt.
- Nov. 20, 2012: Mayoral Candidate Critical of Tax Levy as an Increase
- Oct. 15, 2012: Jotham Stein Announces St. Charles Mayoral Bid
- Oct. 15, 2012: About Jotham Stein