Editor's note: The following is an opinion and does not reflect Skokie Patch's beliefs on said issue. If you'd like to submit a counter to this article, please email me at email@example.com.
As a landlord and member of the Skokie Independent Landlord Association, I speak for the membership when I state we feel that we are being unfairly targeted by the proposed Tenant/Landlord Tax Licensing Program. I have been a resident of this village for more than 50 years. My family continues to reside in Skokie owning both private and rental properties.
Over the past 50 years I have witnessed many changes. Demographic changes, income reduction of many residents and the loss of several major employers are the major ones. These changes are challenging, and require adjustments in the way the village operates, yet the village has continued to operate like the days of old. Furthermore, they are now looking to shift some of the blame for these changes on the multifamily property owners throughout the village.
A common interest for all residents of the village is a safe and attractive community. Multifamily property owners and residents strongly desire this as well. Yet, we have witnessed the decline and viability of Skokie over the past 10 or more years, while neighboring communities and many areas of Chicago have gentrified and grown to attract a more vibrant and economically dynamic community.
The city is proposing an annual license fee on all apartment units, as well as other regulations. One of the problems with the village proposal is that a yearly license fee is unnecessary and excessive in light of the already heavy burden of property taxes and the variety of other taxes property owners pay. The fee is proposed to pay for the hiring of an additional police officer. However, won’t all the residents benefit from increased law enforcement? Shouldn’t the cost be equalized and paid for by all of Skokie’s property owners?
The proposed village licensing fee does nothing to address the decline of Skokie’s neighborhoods. The question remains: Why has the tenant quality declined in the village over the last 10 or so years? If Skokie is such a desirable community, wouldn’t it attract more qualified tenants? The independent landlords do not feel that the village leadership has been keeping up with neighboring towns as far as gentrification and upgrading. This village has done little to attract new business and services. The village leadership has done little to encourage sprucing up the appearance of building facades and other infrastructure.
A question for Skokie residents is this: Once one group is targeted by an unreasonable tax, when does the taxing begin to extend to others such as condo or private homeowners?
This proposal will do nothing to eradicate undesirable residents from our village borders. It does not assist multifamily property owners’ speed up the eviction process. It does not regulate HUD, and CHA group homes that currently reside in Skokie. It does duplicate existing laws and regulatory agencies already in practice within Skokie.
Speaking for Skokie’s Independent Landlords, join our efforts in defeating unfair taxation. Join our efforts to work and collaborate with village government toward making Skokie a safe, desirable, and growing community for all of its residents. www.skokielandlord.org
Skokie resident, landlord
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