Union County Treasurer releases annual “WHERE DO MY TAXES GO?” report


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Union County Treasurer releases annual “WHERE DO MY TAXES GO?” report

Union County Treasurer Darren Bailey has released the annual “Where Do My Taxes Go?” report which provides a visual tool for Union County taxpayers to better understand the composition of their tax bills, and how bills from one part of the county compare to others.

“These graphics were first developed for the 2010 tax year, payable in 2011,” Bailey explained. “Our citizens pay an awful lot in property taxes each year, and I felt it was important to give them a tool to understand why they pay so much, where it goes, and how each taxpayer’s bill might compare to another.”

Each unique taxing district is represented by a wedge of the pie graph. Bailey explained, “Each pie graph represents a community in Union County. Each piece of the pie is one of the taxing districts to which citizens in that community pay taxes. The larger the wedge, the more you pay to that district.”

The largest wedges in each community belong to the local school districts. This is consistent from year to year. “K-12 schools generally comprise 55-67% of a tax bill,” Bailey added.

Nearly every tax bill in the county shares three taxing districts—Shawnee Community College (9-13%), the Union County Government (17-23%), and the County Unit Road District (2-3%). The Unit Road District is a tax-sharing district; the revenue from that tax is collected to make road improvements, and is proportionately split between the Union County Government and each respective municipality.

Cities and villages make-up another 3-15%, and each respective library district usually represents another 2-3% of each tax bill.

“Taxpayers who want to learn how their tax rates compare to other areas in the county will want to pay special attention to the bar graph” Bailey offered. “An estimated tax bill on a $100,000 home in each of the communities represented runs across the top of the graph.”

Tax rates appear to be about the same as last year across the county as a whole, with some communities seeing a small increase, and others small decreases. Approximate tax bills for homes with a $100,000 value range from $1953 (rural Cobden, down from $1994 last year) to $2867 (within the village limits of Dongola, up from $2750).

Bailey concluded, “Paying property taxes is one of those unfortunate events that nearly everyone dreads. We all hope that the money is being well spent and contributing to better communities. The first step to ensuring that is to know how much we pay, and where. The next step is to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of that spending, and hold the respective decision makers accountable.”

“We feel the pain of the tax payments now, but sometimes we forget about it throughout the rest of the year. If we pay attention to the news that comes out each week, each month, and if we pay attention to the services and infrastructure that we each value the most, we’ll get a good idea if the taxes we pay in the summer are being used properly in the winter and spring. I hope these reports lead to a more active and engaged citizenry.”



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