Jul 30, 2014

Kendall County Tax Revolt Group Submits Referendum Petitions

Unless someone files a successful objection, a non-binding referendum will be on the November ballot asking local taxing bodies to reduce their levies by 20 percent.

Kendall County Tax Revolt Group Submits Referendum Petitions

Within three weeks, a grassroots effort against high local property taxes collected 2,891 signatures to place a non-binding referendum on the November ballot.

The Kendall County Tax Revolt group, led by local activists Mark Johnson, Judie Burks, Jan Alexander and Greg O’Neil, wants to ask voters whether every levy of every governing body in Kendall County should be reduced by 20 percent. They needed about 2,500 signatures to get the question on the ballot, and submitted more than that Monday morning.

"Everyone we've talked to said, 'Thank you so much for doing this,'" said Burks.

Johnson also has been .

The four organizers wore matching black T-shirts stating "for the people, not from the people," as they submitted the 239 pages of signatures Monday at the . People can challenge the petition through Aug. 13; if no successful challenges are filed, the question will appear on the November ballot.

No matter what the outcome of the referendum, local governing bodies will not be required to lower their levy—or the amount of money they seek in property taxes. But organizers hope the referendum will capture elected officials' attention and inspire them to make some cuts.

"We're not saying cut firefighters, cut police officers, cut teachers," Johnson said. "... People are just fed up (with taxes.)"

The group also is planning to research key dates in the levy process for each taxing body and encourage residents to attend those meetings.

Their effort started with an event in Yorkville's on June 1 to distribute information on appealing property tax assessments. After another public event in Oswego, their focus expanded to the referendum.

Organizers emphasized that they are a bipartisan group.

"Our circle has Republicans and Democrats in it," O'Neil said. "We don't discuss those issues."

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