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Grayslake Business Owners Plead with D46 to Stop Raising Taxes

A group of Grayslake business owners gave a presentation before the Oct. 17 District 46 board meeting to express their feelings about increasing school and property taxes.

Several Grayslake small business owners addressed the District 46 School Board on Oct. 17 about increasing school expenses and property taxes, the deficit budget and how it's affecting their bottom line.

The board took a half-hour before the regularly scheduled meeting to hear the business owners' presentation.

Leading the presentation was Larry Dyer, president of Platford Commercial Realty, which has been in business throughout Lake County for 30 years. Platford owns two commercial complexes in Grayslake that are home to 68 small businesses.

Dyer said continued tax increases are hurting local businesses to the point that they have to consider relocating or going out of business. He presented several handouts (see attached PDFs) reflecting school tax increases and their effect on commercial property owners.

For example, out of seven townships, said Dyer, Avon has the highest percentage (73 percent) of its total property tax bill going toward educational expenses.

By passing a 2012-13 budget that includes a $1.2 million deficit, said Dyer, "District 46 appears to be on a path to once again raise the local tax levy at its December meeting to make up for the deficit."

"We are vehemently opposed to such action. The business community cannot continue to absorb these kind of real estate tax increases largely driven by increased educational cost overruns."

If this trend continues, said Dyer, business will start moving out of the township in search of more business-friendly environments.

"If you lose the business community, the residents who live here in Avon and do have children to educate will be forced to pay even more taxes to make up for the loss," said Dyer.

Joann Alam, owner of the Gymnastics Factory in Grayslake, was one of Dyer's first tenants. Her combined warehouse space encompasses 11,000 square-feet.

Alam's total annual property tax bill of $29,000 for 2011 has increased about $10,000 since 2005. Her taxes for District 46 alone have increase nearly $4,000 since 2005.

If she has to pass these increases on to her customers, said Alam, she risks losing business or is forced to make program cuts.

"I do not want to have to do that to these kids," she said.

Grayslake painter Jim Stried, who has been in business for 28 years and has a staff of 13, said he is paying about $2,100 more a year in property taxes than he did in 2005.

He said he is worried because the painting business has been "so-so" at best.

"This is a lot of money for a small business," said Stried. "Stop coming back to the taxpayers. Do what you can to help us so I can keep my staff employed."

Mark Schroeder's family owns the Canny Group, which includes Canny Tool and Mold Corp. and Canny Innovative Solutions, Inc.. He said his father has put his life's blood, sweat, tears and savings into the business and is still struggling as a result of increased taxes.

"We don't have the money to throw into the fire anymore. We need to start sacrificing a little more," said Schroeder to the school board.

"When I take over the business, my goal is to move from Grayslake."

The school board thanked the business owners but had little response. The district disputed some of the numbers the business owners obtained from the Illinois State Board of Education related to the district's income and expenses (see attached PDFs).

District 46 Board President Ray Millington said loss of state funding ($1.45 million) was the biggest "hit" to the district.

"We're trying as hard as we can to make up for the reduction in state revenues," he said.

Tim Froehlig October 19, 2012 at 07:40 PM
And yes, the retroactive raises were a terrible idea. Perhaps if the state's attorney had done his job when it was found out a board member committed a felony but chose not to prosecute, and if the board had voted not to renew the superintendent's contract at 200k a year (who documentation showed was fully aware of said board member's actions), we wouldn't be in such a dire mess either.
WorriedParent October 19, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Just as a reminder, the current deficit budget is already including the projected new tax increase revenue. They board will be voting to go after the levy sometime soon....and we all know how that will go. 4 yahs, 3 nahs.....and we will have even higher taxes and still be in the red.
Sandra Sims October 19, 2012 at 07:53 PM
I know, WP. And considering their rationale for asking for the max levy last year was to "capture" the expiring TIF funds, I wonder what their excuse will be this year. No efficiencies. No bidding out for lower costs. Just raise taxes over and over and over. I sincerely hope the business owners have better luck than the homeowners have in making these board members see the writing on the wall, but I don't have much hope unless and until we can get a different majority. It is indeed a joke that Sue Facklam is still on the board, and that Ellen Correll is still superintendant (and whose contract will certainly be renewed again by the gang of 4). We have been let down by all parties involved in this mess.
yabbadabba October 19, 2012 at 08:15 PM
On a side note I'd like to see the last 5 years of financials for each of the businesses in the Platford buildings.
GL Resident October 19, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Private schools spend about 1/2 as much per child yet their success rate is almost twice that of public schools. Explain that 46 bureaucrats! Bring on vouchers so we taxpayers have an alternative to the union-bloated Russian tractor factories that we call public schools.
Terri October 19, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Private schools can discriminate on admissions. Private schools are not subject to the lunch and breakfast programs for low income. Private schools do not have to provide ELL programs. Private schools do not have to provide transportation. Private schools can group by ability; not subject to the same inclusion programs. Private schools are not subject to the same state and federal mandates that hobble public schools. I'm tired now but the list is endless.
Tim Froehlig October 20, 2012 at 04:00 AM
All things that would benefit my child, and not be negatives in any way, actually, and not hinder his learning given he's in the top one percent in reading and math tests nationally.Hmm, interesting.
Terri October 20, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Might be a good pick for you. But remember; this was just a short list of handicaps and costs the public system has no chice but to deal with. Your tax dollars will still have to contribute to their solution.
Pete October 20, 2012 at 01:40 PM
The problem is that in our society, it is easier to just raise taxes than work to become more efficient. Our government- from Federal to Local - behaves like the old English Lords, need more money, just tax the peasants. We need to stop this behavior and elect representatives that really want to work for the people and stop waste. In the public sector businesses are expected to be competitive or else their business partners will go elsewhere. Simple. We need to have our government representatives make raising taxes their LAST option, not the first option they look at.
HM October 20, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Amen Pete! I've said over and over, this is a problem on all levels of government and in order to fix it, there will need to be drastic changes in the way we all think about what we "need" and what we "want". These taxing bodies are running businesses out of town, and have no shame in taking more because it is "what we do" (to quote Karen Weinert regarding asking for the max levy increase a few years ago). To yabbadabba's comment above, the financials for Platford are irrelevant - the taxes are the same regardless of Platford's profits/losses. If businesses can make more money by moving and avoiding taxes that border on robbery, then why wouldn't they? Remeber - paying $5000 per year more in taxes is not a one-time loss - you get hit with it year after year after year, and that adds up to large sums of money. Imagine the differentials when you are talking about tens of thousands of dollars difference per year. My property taxes since 2005 have jumped from $8500 to about $14,000 this year - and over half of that increase goes to D46. Imagine what my family could do with an extra $5500 per year in our pockets, every year. Over 20 years, that is $110,000 more in our pockets. It is indeed the district's problem - every other school district around us has lost state funding - but I don't see every other school district passing a deficit budget. It is disgraceful. Ellen and her cronies have pillaged long enough - time for them all to go.
Brad Faxton October 20, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Here is an idea.... Gymnastics Factory, leave. Go. I dare ya! Moving a business from one location to another is a MASSIVE expense and time hog. Running 2 locations for an overlapping period is insanely expensive. You will loose customers and run yourself dry of cash. What a stupid article.
Lennie Jarratt October 20, 2012 at 02:54 PM
@Brad, your disdain for the business community and taxpayers is appalling. I certainly hope none of the current school board members feel this way, but from their voting records, it appears they may.
Lennie Jarratt October 20, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Exactly Pete. Well said.
Lennie Jarratt October 20, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Thank you business owners for stepping up and speaking up. This continues to show the board of D46 that it is not just a few out here that want good and efficient spending. This is exactly what far too many residents have been saying for years.
LMJ October 20, 2012 at 03:22 PM
We have been saying this for years! Finally it has gotten so bad that even the business owners themselves have come out and confirmed everything we have been saying. Of course the only ones who have been fighting us on this, all of these years, have tried to make everyone believe this was just "a few" using scare tactics. Maybe now, I hope, you all will listen to the business owners, but it still looks like you are still making up excuses on why the district needs to raise taxes (Ray Millington). Always more excuses, always more taxes. NEVER ENOUGH and no true balancing the budget.
LMJ October 20, 2012 at 03:27 PM
I know I am not supposed to ask this, but who is BF anyway? If this person is a community member, then maybe he/she would like to take over all the taxes lost in the district. Anyone who can't put up... right, BF? Insane comment!
HM October 20, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Brad - why are you so darn angry? Our schools are important, but they are run by a group who has shown to have no idea whatsoever what they are doing. Perhaps you think it is okay to through money into a bottomless pit, but look at the tax burden we currently have. I'm not just talking about D46 schools either. Sure our property taxes have goon through the roof while values are in the basement. But what about our state income taxes - Quinn got a huge increase there, and the state still can't pay the school districts what they promised, and have huge unfunded liabilities that our children won't even be able to pay off. When is it enough? I'm asking that in all seriousness - no smart alecky responses necessary. Moving a business is a big expense up front, but if they are saving thousands a year in property taxes, project that out into the future, along with moving to a more stable community, and the move will not take long to pay for itself. Grayslake is not a shining city on a hill where folks are trying to aspire to live - we are drowning in taxes, and the hemmoraghing will not end in the forseeable future. I know many who would like to move, but can not, because it is darn near impossible to sell their houses without taking a huge financial hit. If I could leave, I would, but who will buy a $275,000 that has a $14,000 tax bill each year?
Christine Lamarche October 20, 2012 at 06:33 PM
What you would see are financial statements down, WAY DOWN, as I know many of those 'businesses' in those buildings, and regardless, what does that have to do with poor fiscal planning, budgeting, and OUT OF WHACK pensions and general over-taxing to not only businesse's, BUT HOMEOWNERS like you probably are, or maybe not yabbadabba. Easy to hate the messenger when the truth hurts!
Softball Jim October 20, 2012 at 09:11 PM
HM - If you are paying 14K for taxes in this community your house would be worth way more than $275K. My house is about 30K less and I pay about 9.5K. So if you are going to throw figures out there and least be honest with them. Tim - Good for you, you have a smart little bugger there and you will do more harm to school systems with vouchers than good. Segragating out students baised on ability, social standing, parents finances, would set back our country not only educational wise but discrimination wise. Everyone else - Remember your politicians this November, Remember the Politicians, who created TIF districts in the Rollins Rd corridor, Remember the Buisness that after 20+ years in a TIF district, moved to another one just down the street. These Buisneses and the Politicians who create TIF districts, robbed the homeowners of any tax relief. Those buisness, just like any other buisness is in buisness to make money. PERIOD. For nearly 40 years those buisnesses have not paid thier fair share of taxes to the schools that you send you children to. Who is to blame for that?
HM October 20, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Jim..I am offended that you accuse me of being dishonest. Well, the taxes are actually $13,976 so I guess I did exaggerate a little. Our assessed value was at $400k at one point, but we have had a number of foreclosures on our street and the next block, where the homes were abandoned, and sold for about half of what they were worth...ruined our home values. About grouping, according to your idea above we should teach the same to every child. Well OF COURSE, because they all have the very same strengths and weaknesses. How silly of me. I suppose you are against classroom differentiating too, because that discriminates. And how about eliminating AP and honors classes...because those kids are just show offs. And they really should let anyone into Harvard - we don't want to discriminate. And how about we all get paid on the same scale regardless of our contributions...oh wait, the teachers union already does that. For the record, D46 elementary schools do differentiate in the classroom. That is right...some kids get the advanced spelling list, some the regular list, and some the easy list. Same with reading. Same with math. Wonder how the kids who wish they could work at a higher level feel when the kid next to them has harder work. Think that does not send a message? And for the teachers, it is so much harder to reach so many different levels in a single class period. If you are going to throw out ideas, please give them some consideration.
Brad Faxton October 20, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Superb idea. Saving $7000/yr (1/2 of a $14k bill) and incurring a million dollars of expense is a 142yr ROI.
Brad Faxton October 20, 2012 at 10:07 PM
<shakes head and walks away>
HM October 20, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Brad...where in the world do you get a million dollar pricetag to move? For the gymnastics factory it would be expensive, by nowhere near a million. For most small businesses, the cost to move is minimal. Look around...there is a lot of vacant space in our town, an a lot of proposed commercial development that won't happen unless the tax situation improves. Central range....fairgrounds...piggly wiggly....ring any bells. Drive around the strip malls and look at the high turnover and vacancies. The economy is bad and the taxes make leases too darn expensive.
Martin Schroeder October 21, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Yabbadabba? Nice name, what are you 5 years old?
Brad Faxton October 21, 2012 at 02:41 PM
You are witch hunting in the wrong place. Fairgrounds is still in GL and GL still gets that revenue - they moved because their property was too small and the place was falling apart. Piggy left because they tried to play hardball with the owners and the owners said "no". The new tenant is going to pay more rent than Piggy pays today and will have much higher revenue than that old dump. I fail to understand your logic. FedEx is in GL with brings in many millions of tax revenue. Again, I fail to understand your logic. The biz-es which are leaving are crappy ones we don't want - who needs more cleaners, cell phone stores, nail places and VHS rental places?
LMJ October 21, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Interesting you have such a low opinion of business that aren't in the area anymore. Does this also include Pat's Pizza and The Country Squire?
Sandra Sims October 21, 2012 at 07:31 PM
I have often wondered who voted the D46 gang of 4 into office, now I have my answer. Brad Faxton and others like him. Perhaps Brad would like to write a check to cover everyone elses yearly property tax increase? And to cover the loss of all those "crappy businesses" that "we" don't want? Sheesh.
Softball Jim October 21, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Brad, Remember just because it is in Grayslake does not mean the tax revenue goes to D46. Fairgrounds used to pay to D50, now I believe they are in Freemont District 76. FedEx is also in Freemont. Almost the entire Central Range is in Freemont. There are few buisness in Grayslake that pay D46 taxes. It is on the homeowners of Grayslake. RLB and R.L. both have some buisness in D46 but as I stated before, they were in TIF districts and moved when they were up instead of paying fully on the property taxes. LMJ - Pat's pizza? it was a great place, however, service, quality and inconsistent pizza is whey I no longer went there. Not to mention they raised the prices as well. (Yes taxes have a part of that). I was one of the first customers of theres when they moved into Grayslake, Was sad to see it go. As far as the Country Squire goes, well it was a place for blue hairs to go unless there was a wedding to go to. Food was mediocare (spelling) at best. The building was old. (orginally Sears Mansion) and was becoming run down. Also D50 Taxes. Remember the Dividing line between D50 & D46 is Atkinson Rd.
Terri October 21, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Regardless of district, didn't FedEx get tax abatement?
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