Illinois REALTOR® Magazine  | October 2013
By Mike Scobey | Assistant Director, Advocacy and Local Issues
When property owners complain about high property taxes, they should pay closer attention to whether the taxing districts are generating more property tax revenue than they need. There are ways to pay close attention but it involves some work…and some basic knowledge about the process.
IAR’s RVoice Program has created an informational brochure, the REALTOR® Community Activist Toolkit, which can help guide you and your clients through the process.
Other brochures that can help your clients be well-informed property taxpayers have been recently revised (due to changes in the state law) and are now available in the IAR REALTOR® Store (800-529-2696) or can be downloaded at www.illinoisrealtor.org/rvoice/downloads .
Homestead Exemptions - This brochure provides information on the various homestead exemptions homeowners may be able to take advantage of.
Property Taxes in Illinois and Property Taxes in Cook County - Both brochures will help clients understand the basics of what is involved in the property taxation process, homeowners’ rights, assessment information, tax cycles and exemptions.
There is also a lot to understand when it comes to residential property management and rentals. IAR’s recently-revised Guide to Property Management and Residential Rentals will help you with an overview and description of some of the principal laws and regulations in this area. Go to www.illinoisrealtor.org/rvoice/downloads  to download a copy.
When you see an issue or a town that interests you, you can read a quick summary of that issue, what’s at stake, and see which local Government Affairs Director (GAD) is working on it. Log in to IAR’s Skylights system with your NRDS ID to access your localized issues list at ilskylights.com. Here’s a look at some of the active issues (at press time) across the state:
Springfield Third Street Rail
Description: The Capitol Area Association of REALTORS® continues to work with city, county, state and federal officials and organizations to ensure that the proposed Chicago to St. Louis High Speed Rail project does not negatively impact Springfield by destroying the historic, economic, and cultural hub of the city; or negatively affect the medical district. Our coalition favors the logical and responsible consolidation of rail traffic on the 10th Street corridor. Responsible GAD: Neil Malone
Crystal Lake Impact Fees
Description: Discussions have begun to seek a reduction of impact fees in the city of Crystal Lake. Discussion has centered around the over-valuation of land determined in the fee formula. Responsible GAD: Conor Brown
City of Peoria to Amend Requirements for Temporary Signs
Description: The city of Peoria, through its Zoning Commission, has requested staff to propose language to amend the Zoning Ordinance and Land Development Code as they pertain to temporary signs. This is an active issue, with final language yet to be presented, but staff indicates that their intent is to simplify the process and not require permits to be obtained for temporary signs. Responsible GAD: Kristie Engerman
The Impact of Mandating Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems
As you may have heard or read about (see page 11), a proposal by the state fire marshal which would have required sprinkler installation in new homes and retro-fitting for sprinklers in several types of properties has been opposed by IAR. To get up to speed on the reasons for our opposition, check out our impact study at nosprinklermandate.com