Park Forest Mayor Vanderbilt says 'infrastructure is there' for investment in forgotten south suburbs
Park Forest Mayor John Vanderbilt says there is no mystery why most south suburban Illinois homes have effective property tax rates of at least 11 percent.
“How we got to this rate is through the depopulation of the whole state,” Vanderbilt, elected on April 2, told the South Cook News. “We need to be focused on things that can make people want to stay and continue to rebuild in suburban communities and across this state.”
With government watchdog website Wirepoints reporting that residents in Harvey, Dolton, Riverdale, Dixmoor and Chicago Heights are now paying property taxes as high as $4,300 on homes valued at just $38,000, Vanderbilt knows the change has to be drastic and swift.
“We need things like an airport, a level-three hospital, and when we start seeing these kinds of big investments we will see a change in how things are developing,” he said. “As tough as things have been, the infrastructure is there for them to be better.”
While some have been quick to blame the state's long-faltering economy and widespread corruption, Wirepoints counters that misguided legislation has done as much damage as anything. But Vanderbilt, a former village board trustee, still holds outs hope.
“You can’t keep draining the population,” he said. “There’s a new county assessor and the old way of play is gone, maybe things will be more equitable now with government and federal lawmakers taking a different direction over the next couple years with the way things are going.”