In what has become an annual tradition coinciding with the release of property tax bills, Union County Treasurer Darren Bailey has released the “Where Do My Taxes Go?” report. This year, the report includes two different graphs.
“I think that each graph will speak to certain types of people. The bar graph is especially helpful in comparing tax rates across communities. ‘Who pays the most?’ and ‘Who pays the least?’” explained Bailey. “To accentuate that point, we’ve added a graphic across the top that gives a rough estimate of a tax bill on a $100,000 home in each of the communities represented.”
Those approximated tax bills range from just over $2000 to as much as a little over $3000.
“It certainly reinforces the message that choices matter in the ballot box. Each taxing district makes choices that affect your tax bill, but voters themselves can have an impact, too—especially when we consider referendums,” Bailey added.
Bailey explained, “Each pie chart represents a different community, and each wedge of the pie represents a taxing district. The larger the wedge, the larger the portion of the total tax bill that tax district receives.”
In general, the largest wedges in each community belong to school districts—unit school districts and combined grade schools and high schools run from about 55% to 66% of a tax bill. Three taxing districts show-up on near every tax bill in the county—Shawnee Community College, the Union County Government, and the County Unit Road District.
The Union County Government’s portion represents roughly 20% of each tax bill, depending on the rates of the other districts. The County Unit Road District is a new name for an established process, and represents about 2% of each tax bill.
The Unit Road District is a tax-sharing process, wherein the County collects tax revenue for road maintenance throughout the county and distributes a representative portion back to the individual cities and villages. Taxpayers will notice “zeroed-out” values of the old “Unit Bridge,” “Roads in Village,” and “Roads out Village” tax districts, with those values moved to the new, more appropriate “Unit Road District.”
Bailey concluded, “Overall, I think this exercise is always interesting and valuable to the taxpayers. Everyone dreads the release of the tax bill, but this information gives each of us the power to understand where each dollar is going. From there, we can judge if we think we are getting a good return on our investment.”