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Property tax increases soar past inflation rate

Evanston's schools and other government entities on average raised property taxes at more than twice the 22 percent inflation rate over the past decade.

But a new study by the Heartland Alliance shows that despite those massive increases, local government units here generally have hit taxpayers less hard than the average for corresponding units across Cook County.

The study says the City of Evanston increased property taxes 57 percent, while the average suburban Cook County municipality boosted taxes 75 percent.

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 raised taxes 47 percent and Evanston Township High School raised taxes 43 percent, while the average school district increased its tax levy by 58 percent.

The Town of Evanston's tax levy rose 41 percent, while the average township increased taxes 63 percent.

The one exception to the pattern came among park districts. While the Ridgeville Park District raised its tax levy 28 percent, less than the park district average of 54 percent. The Lighthouse Park District raised its levy 91 percent, according to the figures Heartland gathered from the county treasurer's office.

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas says municipalities and other taxing districts in the county — despite the big tax increases — are still falling much deeper into debt.

And Ted Dabrowsky, a vice president at the Illinois Police Institute, told Crain's Chicago Business the increases are unsustainable, are costing the Chicago region jobs and threaten financial collapse unless they are reversed.

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