The Village of Niles this week published a document claiming to show that it has the lowest out-of-pocket costs for homeowners of any of 13 local communities checked. And, guess what, Evanston had the highest cost in the study.
The document is a bit curious, in that Niles claims to have received it from the City of Park Ridge, but we can't find the document on the Park Ridge city website.
Cost comparison published by Village of Niles
However it does do an interesting job of adding other costs like vehicle sticker fees, trash hauling costs and water and sewer charges into a discussion that usually is dominated by the property tax bill.
What we did find on the Park Ridge website was a different analysis, in the city manager's budget message, which claims that Niles spends more per capita than any other town in a nine community survey except Evanston.
Spending comparison published by Park Ridge
Wonder why Niles didn't trumpet that one?
Most such comparisons suffer a variety of flaws. For example, neither of these reports includes the cost of separate park districts. Most nearby communities have separate park districts with big budgets, while in Evanston most park programs are provided by the city itself and are included in the city budget.
In addition communities vary in the amount of commercial property they have that generates property tax revenue without burdening private homeowners and in the amount of sales tax revenue local retailers generate.
It remains to be seen what a comparison would look like that adjusted for those key factors.