Sales Tax Increase Defeated, Property Tax Hike Looming

One way or another, the tax ‘man’ is going to get you. That should be the new slogan for the City of Naperville. When it comes to balancing the budget, Naperville city officials see two options, either increase the city sales tax or increase property tax. Cost cutting measures are a distant choice, in fact it’s so distant, that it’s seldom considered, and if it is considered, it’s quickly dismissed as too difficult. It’s much easier and quicker to ‘stick it’ to residents and taxpayers, than to creatively figure out how to reduce expense, plus reducing expense isn’t much fun.

At a recent Naperville city council meeting, council members bantered back and forth about doubling the city sales tax from .5% to 1%. The end result by a vote of 5 to 4 was to keep the city sales at .5%. Normally that might be considered good news, except for the fact, that that raising property tax is now the quick fix for city officials.

Increasing property tax is worse for the good folks of Naperville because there is no way of getting around that tax, whereas if the sales tax was increased, the good folks would at least have an option, to buy it or not buy it, and if they are going to buy it, they have a choice as to where to buy it.

Naperville city council members voting against increasing the city sales tax, and hence most likely increasing the property tax are:

  • Kevin Coyne
  • Patty Gustin
  • Paul Hinterlong
  • John Krummen
  • Benny White

It’s possible those five might hold strong on reducing expense, but the smart money is saying they will fold like a bad tent, when push comes to shove in favor of increasing property tax.

Naperville city officials will always find a need (more like a want) to increase revenue, and as Naperville city manager Doug Krieger so often reminds us, the way to fill a financial hole is fill it with cash from rate and taxpayers.

Show 22 Comments


  1. Gerard H Schilling

    We had a incident a few weeks ago on a Sunday about 5 pm on our block. An autistic child well known to the police had an incident where eight police cars include one unmarked and a K-9 unit responded including a fire engine and ambulance.

    Now, if we can afford to do this, we can afford to significantly cut what can only be described as massive over populated police, fire, ambulance personnel and equipment. I’m all for first responders and police but this is ridiculous when all this city, state and federal government does is increases our tax and we get little or nothing in return.

    Just for once why doesn’t council try cutting out the fat instead raising taxes which seems to be the only thing they are very good at.

    • Jim Haselhorst

      The city significantly cut staff, including fire and police, in 2008 and have not significantly increased these number since despite the increases in population and area (properties) of Naperville. The claims that the city of Naperville is staff heavy simply is not supportable. I challenge you to fine one city in this country the size of Naperville and with a comparable population that has a smaller city staff.

      • Gerard H Schilling

        And I challenge you to find one city anywhere that has 40 separate funds which trade money back and forth for the sole purpose of hiding and obfuscating dollars spent as well as wasting a lot of it on cronies and nonsense. As to cutting services most of our surrounding towns/cities have back up and support to cover for police, fire and ambulance. We don’t need nor do they the huge overstocking and manning as if we existed in a vacuum on Mars. Lets cut the BS and start making real cuts which are justified, over needed and way past due.

        • Jim Haselhorst

          You want to cut the BS let start with you 40 different funds. They don’t exist! Period! this is just another of your unsupported outrageous claims and all you have to do to prove me wrong is to reply to this post with a list of these 40 supposed funds.

          I am also throwing the BS flag on your neighboring communities statement Aurora has a population of 201,110 with 289 law enforcement officers (one officer per 696 residents) compared to Naperville’s population of 147,122 with 168 law enforcement officers (one officer per 876 residents) in short Naperville has a population that is 73% the size of Aurora but a police force that is only 58% the size of Aurora’s.

          • Gerard H Schilling

            The City maintains 21 individual governmental funds. Information is presented separately in the governmental fund balance sheet and in the governmental fund statement of revenues, expenditures, and changes in fund balances for the General Fund and Debt Service Fund, which are considered to be major funds. Data from the other 19 governmental funds are combined into a single, aggregated presentation.

            I unlike you add in the other various taxing authorities in our city like the school districts, park district etc. In any case we still are being royally screwed by political hacks and bureaucrats.

          • Jim Haselhorst

            This post was about city government so it was not only appropriate and realistic to limit my reply to city government but rational and responsible as well.

            Yes the city of Naperville does, in its budget documents, breakdown its operations into multiple funds, which is actually the GAP standard for government financial documents. So not only does Naperville do this but Aurora, Rockford, Springfield, Bolingbrook, Lisle, and every municipality that provides independently audited financial documents in accordance with Federal requirements and GAP standards, whether they are in the state of Illinois or one of the other 49.

            This does not make Naperville, its city staff or leadership reckless or irresponsible but quite to the contrary, it makes them responsive to the financially and socially demands of the community they represent. And yes these same GAP standard and government requirements apply to all government entities, including school districts, park districts, townships, etc, which is why their financial documents also breakdown operations into multiple funds.

            As to your original challenge to list another “city” (as you define to include school districts, park district, etc) that has over 40 funds I give you Aurora, Rockford, Springfield, St Louis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Des Moines, Ames, Kansas City, Wichita, Casper, Sioux Falls, etc. I now present you with a challenge, provide me with a city that the government entities, operating within its borders, do not parse their operations in to multiple funds that when added together does not exceed dozens.

          • Gerard H Schilling

            And I give you the needless redundancy of management and support staff justifying and increasing their own existence when it is totally and completely unnecessary. It does, however, needlessly increase tax payer costs to provide employment for political hacks, associates and relatives.

          • Jim Haselhorst

            Specifically what staff redundancy in the city of Naperville’s operations are you talking about? I have review every city budget in depth for the last 5 years and can see on redundancy or overlap in functions.

      • Colin

        According to the most recent numbers available from BGA,, Rockford spends less with a very comparable population. And Aurora spends a lot less per capita. All data is from 2016, but I doubt that any city changed their spending by 20%.

        147,122 population
        $72,199,433.84 payroll
        39.24 square miles
        $490.75 payroll per resident

        147,651 population
        $67,000,484.46 payroll
        64.48 square miles
        $453.78 payroll per resident

        201,110 population
        $80,281,665.64 payroll
        45.95 square miles
        $399.19 payroll per resident

        • Jim Haselhorst

          Went to your website but could not find were you got these numbers. The numbers you posted do not come close to the numbers provided by each of these city’s in there budgets for 2016.

          According to the City of Aurora’s budget documents it spent $104,037,749 on its police department ($90,765,973 on wages and salaries for its 823 FTE) last year which is $517.32 per resident. According to Naperville’s 2016 budget it spent $42,642,288 on its police department ($26,442,494 on wages and salaries for its 275 FTE) which is $289.84 per resident. As you can see Aurora spent significantly more on its police department then Naperville does.

          As to Rockford it has a population of 147,651 with a police department budget of $50,271,648 ($39,800,050 on wages and salaries for 323 FTE) which is $340.48 per resident. Again you can see Rockford spend more on its police department then Naperville not as much as Aurora but still significantly more.

          All these numbers can be easily verified by going to each city’s website, pulling up their 2016 budget and looking up their police department budget data.

          • Kurt Dorr

            It would appear Colin had some wrong numbers. Not sure why everyone is attacking the city when they should be scrutinizing the Park District, that is one bloated entity.

          • Jim Haselhorst

            Agreed! The park district and school district have been milking taxpayers for years. It is time to start requiring the governing bodies of these taxing entities to be more transparent and cost conscious. To start holding them to the same standard that this community has held the city to for over a decade.

  2. Julie Berkowicz

    This city government follows one path:. Development. Whether it is funded by the taxpayer, which is typical, or private investment, that is all they know. Naper Settlement expansion plans and it’s staff is growing and the 5th Avenue development, well, $300 million is nothin’. What can be expected from a Council that has no fiscal responsibility?

    • Kurt Dorr

      Julie, you do realize there are now tax dollars involved with the 5th Ave. development, right?

      • Jim Haselhorst

        The only tax dollars spent so far on the 5th Ave Project are those spent paying city council and staff members for the time they has invested in this project. But there is, based on statements made by Chirco and Krieger during the last council meeting in September, a good chance a great deal of tax dollars could be committed to this project (almost enough to pay for the complete development).

        • Kurt Dorr

          The only tax dollars that might be committed would be TIF money, nothing else.

          • Jim Haselhorst

            They discussed the possibility of bond issue like was done for Water Street District. The city issued bonds for the construction of the parking garage which they ended up owning. So there is a possiblity of the city paying for some part or parts of this development that would become city owned. For example anything involving the water tower in the end needs to be city owned.

          • Kurt Dorr

            Incorrect, the only bond issue would be for a parking garage and it will cost no where near $300,000,000. In any event, it is WAY too early to speculate on what the development is going to look like, it will be months before we know.

          • Jim Haselhorst

            And if the idea of bond issues and TIF districts are not eliminated as possible funding sources at this time (the city staff and council have clearly indicated they are not willing to do so) then this develop has a good possibility of growing so large that the only way the developer will be able to do this project is with bond issues and a TIF (like what happened with Water Street). As councilmen Krummen point out the present purposal by Ryan and Assoc. is 20% of their annual revenue, I would argue that this make this project to large for Ryan and Assoc to do without a TIF district. We need to speak out now against such funding if we want to make sure they do not become realities.

            TIFs are the worst, have you seen any financial disclosures on the millions in property tax dollars that are going into the Water Street TIF? Of course not because there is no requirement for public disclosure or transparency with this type of fund. Taxpayer are completely paying for the development of Water Street without being provided any information on how these tax dollars are being dispersed. In fact the bank that loan the money for the Water Street District Development did not provide any information on the terms of the loan these tax dollars are being used to pay off. For all we know it was a 20% interest rate loan that provides an annual kickback to the developer which taxpayer will spent the next 25 years paying off.

            It only took 400 TIF district in the entire state of California to push it to the brink of bankruptcy (at a time when its total revenues were over $45 billion). How many TIF districts do you think Naperville can support (with its $450 milliion in revenue) before pushing our community’s future financial state to this same brink? As I have said before California was the state were TIFs were created and first used, today they are illegal in that state. That should be a powerful enough message that even the most financial inept person can understand.

          • mike

            Jim Haselhorst: Regarding TIF disclosures, all TIFs are required to file an annual report with the Comptroller’s office of the State of Illinois. Go to The Warehouse on the IL Comptrollers website. The State is not very prompt in posting them, and the website doesn’t always work, but there is information out there. Regarding the loans, they are General Obligation bonds issued by the City, at interest rates the city pays on its borrowings. The 2016 issuance had interest rates from 2.0% to 3.5%, depending upon the maturity date. The borrowings are actually done by the City by issuing bonds and depositing the money into the TIF fund.

    • Jim Haselhorst

      The city council has held the line on property taxes for the last ten years unlike the county, township, park district and school district. If the Naperville City Council is not fiscally responsible then these other government organizations are grossly fiscally irresponsible. Why aren’t you calling then out? If your concern is for the taxpayers then holding these organizations to the standard city council presently has for city spending would result in a massive tax break for the residents funding these bodies.

  3. Kurt Dorr

    Oops, mean to say NO tax dollars.

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