Two days ago, our household received the quarterly newsletter from DuPage County. While the front page of the DuPage Review trumpets “DuPage County Cuts $10.7 million from 2012 Budget,” the back page had this interesting statement: “Did You Know? Only 2.8% of your property tax bill goes to DuPage County.” See the figure below:
What exactly is the County trying to convey here? Pointing out this figure means: (a) you should not be concerned at all since this is a small amount (b) you should not care much if we ask for a little more (c) you should be impressed that we use such a small percentage, particularly compared to other taxing bodies. .
The focus here is on the small number (only 2.8%!) but it might also lead a lot of people to ask what my wife asked: why does the County need 2.8% anyway? The rest of the newsletter offers some hints: taking care of county roads, dealing with stormwater, and facilitate things like senior services and electronic recycling. The county budget for 2012 is $434.7 million and you can find more specific details here.
I wonder how many DuPage County residents know what goes on at the county level. Outside of occasional local issues, how many people actually have to be concerned about what the County does? Add in the fact that Illinois has the most local taxing bodies in the country (outpacing second place Pennsylvania by over 2,000) and it can be really hard to figure out how the County, township, Forest Preserve, Park Districts, municipalities and the other taxing bodies fit together and utilize property tax money.