General FAQs Questions

How do my property taxes get calculated?

What removal service do we receive from Allied Waste and how much does it cost?

Are there regulations on train horns?


Questions And Answers

How do my property taxes get calculated?

 

The Village of Franklin Park Tax Guide

 
HOW ARE MY PROPERTY TAXES CALCULATED?
 
It can be very frustrating for property owners to see an increase on their tax bills when in many cases their property values have actually declined.  Nevertheless, some residents will be seeing increases.  Franklin Park has held the dollar level of the Village tax levy flat for three years.  But Cook County is increasingly shifting tax liability allocations from commercial and industrial property to residential taxpayers.
 
The Cook County Assessor reduced the assessment-to-market ratio for each of the three major classifications of property as follows:
• Commercial properties from 38% to 25%  --  a 13% reduction
• Industrial properties from 36% to 25% --  an 11% reduction
• Residential properties from 16% to 10% -- only a 6% reduction
 
The County’s classification changes have negatively impacted residents by passing more of the tax burden onto residential properties.  Cook County has also been decreasing the maximum exemption for homeowners, and it declined by $4,000 again this year, or 25%.
 
• $26,000 for 2008 tax year (property taxes paid the following year in 2009)
• $20,000 for 2009 tax year (property taxes paid the following year in 2010)
• $20,000 for 2010 tax year (property taxes paid the following year in 2011)
• $16,000 for 2011 tax year (property taxes paid the following year in 2012)
• $12,000 for 2011 tax year (property taxes paid the following year in 2013)
 
This reduction in the Homestead Exemption is a prime reason why the residential taxes continue to escalate.
 
WHAT IS ASSESSED VALUE?
 
Property taxes are based on a property’s assessed value.  Illinois requires assessed value be periodically updated for real estate tax purposes.  In Cook County, this general reassessment is done on a revolving three-year cycle, with about one third of properties reassessed annually.  The estimated value of your property is determined by analyzing sales information of similar homes in your area.
 
If you think your assessed valuation is too high compared to similar properties in your area, you may want to file an appeal.  Check the Assessor’s website, www.cookcountyassessor.com, for details and deadlines.
 
If you require additional guidance, you may also visit or call the Township Assessor at 2501 Mannheim Road, 847-455-7265.  You do not need an appointment.
 
If new homes or businesses are being built or added to the community, you could see a decrease in your taxes because there is more real estate value over which to spread the burden.  Foreclosures, or other properties removed from the tax rolls, drive the value of real estate. Therefore, your bill could increase because there is a smaller tax base to support community needs.
 
IS THERE TAX RELIEF FOR SENIORS?
 
If you are over the age of 65, the State of Illinois has a Real Estate Tax Deferral program that allows you to defer your real estate taxes until the home is sold.  The application is available at www.cookcountytreasurer.com.  Also, information regarding the Senior Freeze Exemption and the Senior Homeowner Exemption is available from the Cook County Assessor's Office at the same website or by calling 312.443.7550.
 
Additionally, Leyden Family Services on Grand Avenue, 847.451.0330, may be of assistance in securing additional funds for families or individuals with financial challenges. You may also call or visit the Township Assessor as listed above.
 
HOW DO PROPERTY TAXES SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY?
 
Property taxes are used by the Village to provide essential services, including police, fire and public works that protect our neighborhoods and maintain our infrastructure.
 
Less than 18% of your tax bill goes to the Village of Franklin Park to support these services.
 
Other taxing bodies provide education, parks and libraries with their property tax revenues. By looking at your tax bill, you can see the amount and proportion of your property taxes that go to each taxing district in your area. In Franklin Park, on average, over 65% of your property taxes go to support our public schools.
 
It is important to note that the Village of Franklin Park’s municipal tax rate of 1.929% is one of the lowest in the region, lower than our neighbors Rosemont, Elmwood Park and Schiller Park.  
 
It is equally important to note that we continue to do all we can to hold the line on taxes and the burdens they impose on our residents.
 
If you would like to discuss your taxes and learn how crucial they are to providing Village services, please feel free to contact us at 847.671.4800.

 

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What removal service do we receive from Allied Waste and how much does it cost?

Last summer the Village surveyed residents about their preferences regarding trash removal.  Based on the survey results, the Village negotiated a trash removal contract that meets the preference of our residents AND lowered our costs.
 
The new garbage fee is $22.96 per month per household.  Seniors now receive FREE service if they are 65 years of age or older, with documentation.
 
This new rate includes all services residents have received in the past including, unlimited weekly pick-up which includes bulk items.  In addition, there is still NO fee and NO sticker required for yard bags.  Yard bags are available for purchase at local grocery and hardware stores.
 
Also, the vast majority of respondents indicated that they wanted to recycle more. As part of our renegotiation of the Village’s garbage contract, we were able to provide residents with a 64-gallon recycling cart AND also REDUCE the monthly fee.  Research shows that having a larger bin means people will recycle more, which is better for the environment and helps to reduce the Village’s garbage removal costs in the long run.
 
You can no longer use the smaller recycling bins because Allied Waste utilizes a special automated system allowing their trucks to lift the new, larger bins, which is more efficient and therefore less costly to the Village.  You can keep your old bin for your personal use or drop it off at the Village’s Utility Department.

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Are there regulations on train horns?

In Franklin Park the horns seem to blow at all times of the day and night.  We have had many inquiries as to why the trains are allowed to blow their horns at all hours and what, if anything, can be done to stop it.
 
We have all been annoyed and disturbed by a loud train whistle, interrupting our dinner conversation, blaring over a favorite TV show or interrupting our sleep.  But trains blow their horns as a safety warning and unless extensive and expensive steps are taken, municipalities have no ability to cease the horn blowing.
 
The US Constitution "Commerce Clause" gives the federal government regulatory authority over trains and this usually preempts state or local government regulations.  Additionally, the Village, Cook County and the State have no jurisdiction over the railroads.
 
Municipalities can create a "quiet zone" from 10:00pm to 6:00am that would preclude the use of train horns.  But in order to apply for such a designation, we would first be required to make significant safety modifications to each at-grade crossing.
 
Modifications would include such things as quad gates or changing the grade level of the crossing.  Due to our current configurations, we would need to spend approximately $500,000 per crossing to be eligible to apply.   To effectively reduce the noise, all crossings – Franklin Park has seven at grade crossings - should be reconfigured.  This would cost the Village $3.5 million to perform these reconfigurations.
 
Clearly, in these recessionary times, we cannot afford these safety modifications.  Additionally, the State’s budget crisis and the financial issues in Washington make grants for these zones scarce.
 
However, we will continue to make this a top priority and aggressively pursue state and federal grants that could help us achieve ‘Quiet Zone’ designation.

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Clerk's Office FAQs Questions

Can I have a garage or yard sale?

Is there an ordinance for watering/sprinkling my yard in the summer?

Where can I register to vote and what are the requirements?

What type of identification do I need to register to vote?

When is the approved time for trick or treating on Halloween?


Questions And Answers

Can I have a garage or yard sale?

Yes, two sales are permitted per calendar year.  They can be up to 30 hours in duration within three consecutive days between 8:00am and 7:00pm.   Registration with the Clerk’s Office is required prior to each sale.

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Is there an ordinance for watering/sprinkling my yard in the summer?

Yes, from May 15th to September 15th each year from 12:01pm to 6:00pm, it is unlawful to engage in lawn sprinkling or other landscape use of water supplied from the Municipal water system.

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Where can I register to vote and what are the requirements?

You can register to vote at the Clerk’s Office in Village Hall.  The following are required by Illinois State Law:
  • Must be a citizen of the United States
  • Be 18 years old by the next election
  • Vote at the address listed on the registration card
  • Display two pieces of identification, including one with a current address
 

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What type of identification do I need to register to vote?

  • Valid Driver's License
  • Valid US Passport
  • Illinois State ID
  • Social Security Card
  • Birth Certificate
  • Employee or a Student ID
  • Credit Card
  • Utility Bill displaying applicant’s name
  • Mail postmarked to applicant
  • Public Aid ID Card

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When is the approved time for trick or treating on Halloween?

On October 31st between the hours of 3:00pm and 8:30pm.

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Police Department FAQs Questions

How was the site for the new Police Station selected?

What is the curfew for minors?

What are the winter parking rules and restrictions?

Why is the Village building a Police Station?


Questions And Answers

How was the site for the new Police Station selected?


How was the site for the new Police Station selected?
The location of the new police station was chosen by Village residents through a study they participated in via a $50,000 planning grant the Village received, not chosen by the Administration.  A number of options were examined:
 
A. Village Owned Parcels
1. Belmont & River – This site is located at the far eastern section of town and has several drawbacks for police operations including being blocked from the largest area of town by two sets of rail road tracks.  This site would not be large enough for police operations and the Local Adjudication Courtroom which doubles as the Village Board Chambers.  Purchase of an adjoining parcel would have made this site cost prohibitive.  This site would require that the Police Station and Local Adjudication/Village Board Chambers have special building features to make it flood resistant because it is located across the street from the Des Plaines River.  Additionally, River Road is closed during heavy rain events, hindering travel in that vicinity.

2. Grand & Mannheim – This site was purchased to encourage retail development.  The Village went to great lengths to put together a parcel large enough to accommodate a modern retail development on the site.  The land is more valuable as a retail development due to it being a source of real estate and sales tax revenue as well as a local commercial area for the use of residents.  The site is the best retail location in Franklin Park.  The site would be 2 miles from Village operations which makes communication more difficult with other operations.  The distance from other Village Operations and the loss of valuable retail space made this land undesirable for a Police Station location.

3. The Crossings – Phase 2 – This site located at the Northwest corner of 25th and Franklin Avenue presents several challenges due to its location and size.  Site access would be a major issue due to the configuration of 25th and Franklin Avenue in relationship to the rail tracks which would cause major safety concerns because of difficulties with ingress and egress.  It would also be costly to develop as the facility would have to be multi-story and include a multi-story parking garage.  The police operations would mean the unloading of dangerous perpetrators and the releasing of offenders in the downtown area directly connected to residential and commercial areas.  A large portion of this property is unbuildable because of large oil cooled communications tubes running along the North side of the parcel.

4. Southwest corner of Grand and Willow – This site is owned by the Grand Avenue Railroad Relocation Authority and would have to be transferred to the Village.  This parcel is only accessible by an alley behind a residential area.  Accessing the site safely from Grand Avenue would be an issue as it is right next to the underpass.  The police operations would mean the unloading of dangerous perpetrators and the releasing of offenders in a residential area.

5. Property adjacent to Village Hall – Parcel size is too small.  All visitor parking would be on the south side of Belmont Avenue which would create safety issues.  The layout of the lot would only allow for one access point on Belmont Avenue which is not good from a policing standpoint.  If the single access point is blocked, police would not be able to access or leave the station.

B. Renting Space In A Warehouse
The Board investigated the possibility of rehabbing the current facility and housing the Police Station in a rented space for the duration. Rehabbing the current facility would require taking it down to the foundation and rebuilding at a cost of $10 million.   Renting temporary space during renovation would have cost the Village approximately $4 million alone in rent, taxes, costs to build out the temporary facility and to move elaborate communication equipment. The Village would then have to pay to return the property to its original condition at the end of the lease. This would bring the total cost to $14 million, which is $4 million more than building the new station.
 
C. Purchasing An Existing Building (e.g., former LaSalle Bank building on Rose Street): 
This property required an environmental clean up which the owner would not pay for at the time.  The property required extensive remodeling and expansion which would have cost approximately the same as the purchase and new construction of a Police Station on the Unilever site.  The bank site and building had limitations:  it would have been a very tight fit with no expansion capabilities for the Police Department and there was question as to whether or not the building would have been able to accommodate a Village court room and the necessary parking for public meetings.  The police operations would mean the unloading of dangerous perpetrators and the releasing of offenders in a residential area South of the downtown directly connected to commercial areas.
 
D. Purchase Site
Purchase of the 13.5 acre Unilever site for $2.1 million and construction of a building suitable for the Village’s needs.  (The Village of Skokie purchased 6 acres for $6 million):
 
Option D, the purchase of the former Unilever site, was deemed to be the most attractive option based on the price and flexibility the site offered.  The purchase would also allow the Village to implement plans recommended in the Transit Oriented Development study adopted in January, 2006 and paid for by $75,000 in grant funds.  This study was developed with input from the public and other taxing bodies.  Several public meetings were held to gather input for the plan from residents as well as meetings with key stakeholders in the Village.  Two options were suggested for the Unilever site:
  • Keep the site for industrial use (as Unilever was using the site at the time).
  • Look to use the site as a potential Village campus (consolidate Village Hall, Police Station & Public Works).
Due to the closure of Unilever, this option became the most feasible approach for the redevelopment of the property. No immediate plan for other Village buildings is contemplated at this time.
Unilever ultimately decided to shut down the facility in December, 2008.  The site presents several challenges for reuse as an industrial facility:
  • Site is close to the center of Franklin Park where residential properties are predominant.
  • Buildings are older and have less desirable features such as: low ceilings, lack of truck docks, flow issues in the larger building as it has multiple additions, etc.  The lack of modern industrial features made the property unattractive to potential industrial buyers and was destined to remain vacant for an extended time period.
Due to these reasons, the Village was able to obtain the property at the very low purchase price.  No other purchase in Franklin Park or surrounding communities has been as low on price per square foot of land.
 
The Unilever site will ultimately allow for more of the Transit Oriented Plan to be implemented and will possibly permit the Village to consolidate municipal services at this location.  Additionally, some of the land not used for the Police Station could also be available for sale for private development.

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What is the curfew for minors?

  • Sunday-Thursday from 10:30pm until 6:00am the following day
  • Friday from 11:30pm until 6:00am Saturday
  • Saturday from 11:30pm until 6:00am Sunday

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What are the winter parking rules and restrictions?

Be advised that the winter No Parking restrictions are in effect on designated Snow Route streets after a 2” snow fall until snow clearing operations are complete.  Please note that secondary streets have a No Parking restriction after a 2” snow fall from 9:00am to 9:00pm on the odd address numbered side of the street and 9:00pm to 9:00am on the even address side.  Please check signs posted for clarification.

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Why is the Village building a Police Station?

Our decision to build this state of the art, sustainable police station was the most fiscally responsible approach to continued public safety for our citizens and a safe, healthy workplace for our law enforcement professionals. Suggestions that the exiting Police Station could have been rehabilitated for several hundred thousand dollars are ill-informed.
 
It is government’s primary obligation to provide the very best possible public safety services to our residents and to our businesses.  It is also imperative that we keep our police officers safe as they work to secure the safety of our families and as they work to stop crime in our community before it happens.  The existing police station is unsafe, functionally unproductive and potentially dangerous. The Fraternal Order of Police deemed the building to be severely detrimental to the health, safety and general well-being of the employees and visitors in the building.
 
In addition, in December 2009, OSHA mandated the closing of the courtroom and two interview rooms due to severe structural issues. For years, the building was not properly maintained.  The Board investigated the possibility of rehabbing the current facility and housing the police station in a rented space for the duration through the use of trained structural engineers.
 
The engineers determined that the cost to rehab the facility was not cost-effective and is not even possible given the structural damage from years of strain on the walls. The roof is made of a substance called Gypcrete, Gypsum reinforced with chicken wire. Gypsum is the same product used to make drywall. Through many years of neglect, hundreds of thousands of gallons of water were allowed to saturate the Gypsum, putting a great load of weight on the walls which have begun to buckle. Engineers determined that a traditional roof replacement was no longer an option and that removing any portion of the roof would result in the entire roof structure being compromised and a probable release of asbestos into the working areas. Moreover, the walls were no longer structurally sound because of the massive weight placed upon them; a rehab down to the foundation would now be required.
 
Rehabbing the facility would require that the Village remove all personnel and their belongings from the building to ensure that no cross contamination from the asbestos occur. Even if the walls were structurally sound, the 15,000 square foot police station was constructed in the 1950’s and has had at least seven additions.  The building has an antiquated electrical system, does not meet building code, has no sprinkler or fire alarm system and is not ADA accessible.  Additionally, safety experts have warned the Village that the building poses a potential for exposed mold as well as well as the asbestos issues.  A complete report by the Village Engineer which evaluates the building is available for review at Village Hall and a synopsis of that report is available online.
 
The Board investigated the possibility of rehabbing the current facility and housing the police station in a rented space for the duration.  The option of creating a temporary station would have cost the Village approximately $4 million dollars alone in rent, taxes, costs to build-out the temporary facility, move elaborate communication equipment in, and then the cost of removing it all after completion of the new Police Station. Little, if any of that $4 million would have been recouped.
 
Additionally, the current police station does not meet the modern needs of the Police Department and would require an expansion to allow them to be compliant with state and federal requirements for the facility and jail space.  Expansion at the current location is not possible because the facility is land-locked to the west with the Metra owned parking lot and the land to the east contains two underground reservoirs which would cost tens of millions of dollars to relocate.
 
The Board and I are committed to being good stewards of the taxpayer dollars and have examined all options before voting to build a new police station. We have been dedicated to restoring our financial health and establishing good management and accountability.  Our vigorous adherence to accepted accounting practices recently resulted in the Village being awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. Last year Standard and Poor’s issued an investment grade bond rating to the Village, making it the first time in Franklin Park’s history that the Village’s finances received an investment grade rating without credit enhancement.
 
We have cut Village overhead, streamlined operations and increased efficiencies.  In the area of public safety, we saved $800,000 by applying best practices in police officer staffing, while continuing to safeguard our community. The new police station has been designed to serve the Police Department, and our citizens, for the next 50 years.  It will also serve as a regional center to allow the Franklin Park Police Department to collaborate with police departments in neighboring communities on area-wide task forces and to implement new crime prevention programs and to stop crime before it happens. This new facility will support our officers as they work to secure the safety of our neighborhoods and to continue to provide the highest quality of service to our community.

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Public Works FAQs Questions

Where can I put bagged leaves?

Who maintains shrubs and weeds along alleys?

What are the winter parking rules and restrictions?


Questions And Answers

Where can I put bagged leaves?

Residents should place leaves in brown biodegradable bags and remember to put them out on garbage day with recycling for pick-up.  Bags are available for purchase at local grocery and hardware stores. Leaves cannot be picked-up if they are placed in plastic bags or in the street.  Pick-up continues until December 5.

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Who maintains shrubs and weeds along alleys?

Residents are asked to cut the weeds that grow along their property near the alleys to help keep mosquitoes from breeding.  Residents are also required by ordinance to maintain schrubs and small trees to keep the public way clear for garbage trucks and other vehicles.

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What are the winter parking rules and restrictions?

Be advised that the winter No Parking restrictions are in effect on designated Snow Route streets after a 2” snow fall until snow clearing operations are complete.  Please note that secondary streets have a No Parking restriction after a 2” snow fall from 9:00am to 9:00pm on the odd address numbered side of the street and 9:00pm to 9:00am on the even address side.  Please check signs posted for clarification.

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