The Village of Skokie conducted a recent survey comparing costs and charges assessed by Skokie and 16 other comparable area communities based on location, size and services offered. The research identified annual mandatory costs imposed on a typical residence by each municipality. Of the 17 communities, Skokie’s annual costs are the lowest.
When totaling the annual costs a typical household pays for property taxes, sales taxes, refuse fees, water service charges and vehicle or ‘wheel’ taxes, Skokie ranks the lowest of all 17 communities at a cost of only $1,921 per household per year for all of the combined services. For the other 16 communities in the survey, the average cost of combined services is $2,770, with a range from Skokie’s low of $1,921 annually to a high of nearly $4,500 annually. For purposes of the survey, a residence was defined as being a $300,000 market-value home for a family of four; 116,800 gallons of water consumed in the home annually; $20,000 in home-rule sales tax eligible annual purchases and with each household owning two vehicles.
Skokie prides itself on providing excellent services to the community. The costs for providing these services continue to increase substantially. This year, for example, the Village is experiencing an increase of nearly $175,000 in the costs for providing recycling services and more than $200,000 in refuse disposal fees. Alternatively, Village revenues have been significantly impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the Village strives to maintain the more than 30-year property tax freeze, the Village has relied on other revenues that fluctuate with the economy, such as sales taxes. Currently, the Village’s sales tax receipts are $7.6 million lower than from the peak several years ago. The Village also has austere budgeting practices that include freezing 56.5 staff positions that have been vacated by attrition over the past several years.
The Village Board is examining the Village’s need for additional revenues during the Fiscal Year 2022 budget hearings being held during May. Decisions for additional fees will be made with the goal of continuing to provide Skokie residents with the highest quality services at the lowest cost possible.
The two remaining budget hearings are scheduled for 6:15 p.m. on May 13 and 20, and can be viewed live on the Village’s YouTube channel as well as cable television channels 17 (Comcast) and 25 (RCN). See more information.