To the Editor:
I have been elected twice as Kane County Board chairman to do everything in my power and skill to contain the size of government. My job is to deliver high-quality county services while holding the line on total county property tax levies.
The purpose of paying off debt is not to turn around and borrow more. Long-term taxpayer-paid public debt should not be used like a revolving credit card, especially when we're talking about a staggering $50 million of new borrowing and more spending.
Also, we are frequently told that we do not have sufficient budget to operationally take care of the forest preserve property we currently own. Fifty million dollars more in additional purchases will make this even more difficult.
Taxpayers most clearly communicate and most directly provide direction to their elected representatives through referenda, especially those that allow government to increase property taxes. I am told repeatedly and emphatically that you and I are "being taxed out of our homes." In fact, an October 2016 Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll revealed that 47 percent of Illinois registered voters would leave the state if they could. Taxes were the No. 1 reason.
It is inconsistent and seemingly irrational to then vote to increase your property taxes. You need to send clear messages through your vote if you truly want us to say no to increased taxes and spending.
Finally, there are several legitimate perspectives on this situation, but I was literally shocked by how a constituent in northern Kane County was treated by a bank and the forest preserve recently.
Briefly, a bank foreclosed on 68 acres of this person's property that had been used as collateral on a business loan that became troubled. Then, the bank offered to sell the land to the forest preserve based on an existing "first right of refusal." The forest preserve said yes, with the condition that essentially the bank evict the current residents on the 3.5-acre homestead where the former owner's 29-year-old son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter lived.
This Kane County taxpayer has been battling the bank with a predatory lending claim that is still pending. However, five days before Christmas, the eviction took place. On Feb. 13, the bank, with acquiescence of the forest preserve, bulldozed the house.
Perhaps a cooling off period is called for now, rather than reloading the forest preserve with $50 million in taxpayer funds. I will be respectfully voting no.
Christopher J. Lauzen
Kane County Board chairman