Property Taxes in Lake County, Dick Barr Argues For Lowering – Video

At the full Board Meeting of The lake County Board on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, County Board Member Dick Barr made an impassioned plea for the necessity of lowering property taxes. Citing that property taxes have never been lowered in at least 20 years, as far back as his data goes. Barr presented data going back to 2020 showing major decreases in new business development (90%), as well as the County’s Property Tax Levy increasing by 100% in that same time frame.

A resolution to increase the 2020 levy by $605,000 was presented to the Board to vote on.  Barr attempted to amend the resolution to freeze the levy, which would have provided tax savings to existing tax payers, albeit slight. He argues that while the savings are small, it is necessary to start a trajectory in the right direction.

Barr’s amendment failed to get the 11 votes necessary to pass.  6 Board Members voted in favor of Barr’s amendment, including Republicans Michael Danforth, Judy Martini, Brent Paxton, Ann Maine, and one Democrat, Diane Hewitt.

Keep up to date on Lake County issues at Dick’s Facebook Page 

Please Support My “No Growth 2020 Property Tax Levy” Amendment

Please Support My “No Growth 2020 Property Tax Levy” Amendment

The County Board will be voting on an estimated 2020 Property Tax Levy (amount collected in property taxes) tomorrow (September 10th) at the full board meeting at 9 AM on the 10th Floor of the Lake County Administration Building at 18 N County St in Waukegan.

I will be proposing an amendment to the resolution to freeze the levy at the 2019 amount, opting to not increase the levy with new growth.  Instead, the new growth will be used to reduce the existing tax base portion of the levy, however slight.

Watch the video the explains the Levy and my reasons for proposing an amendment.

My reasons are many:

  • Primarily, I am very concerned that new growth tax revenue in Lake County has declined by 90% since 2020, from $6 Million in 2000 to $605 Thousand projected in 2020.
  • The Lake County property tax levy has increased 100% since 2000, from $80 Million in 2000 to the current $162 Million. Even when adjusted for inflation that number has risen from $125 Million in 2000 to the current $162 Million, an increase of 30%.
  • Lake County will be receiving additional revenue from the state next year, partly due to increased transportation revenue from the State’s Motor Fuel Tax (estimated between $5-7 Million a year), and Lake County will also receive sales tax revenue from any marijuana retail that goes anywhere in the County, including within municipalities. (I am not currently aware of any projections or estimates on marijuana tax)
  • Cuts to services are not necessary to accomplish what I am asking, although during the budget process over the coming months I will be looking very closely to areas where cuts are warranted.
  • Lake County Government has not lowered its levy going back at least 20 years (as far back as my data goes). This is an opportunity to show residents that we care about the current trajectory of Property Taxes, and are committed to reversing that trajectory for the first time in decades.
  • Every $48 of property tax affects home equity by about $1,000. $480 of property tax affects about $10k in home equity and $4,800 in property tax affects about $100,000 in equity.  This is because lenders approve mortgage borrowers based on their monthly debt to income ratio taking property taxes into account.
  • While my proposal will mean very little on the individual tax bills, I hope its effect will be example setting and educational so that residents can ask the same of other taxing bodies that make up the 95% of the tax bill that County Government does not control.
  • Property Tax Payers have been investing in maintenance and infrastructure to make new development growth possible, but under the current system of not using new development growth to lower property taxes, residents never earn a return on their investment.

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve you.  Please let me know if you have any questions at all!

Property Tax Levy Explained

We all know what our property taxes are, but how many have ever explained what they mean? In this video, I go into great depth to explain exactly how the Lake County Government Property Tax levy works and how it affects your tax bill.

Property Tax and the Property Tax levy are some of the more difficult ideas to understand in Government. In this video you will know what a levy is, how it is decided, and how new property development affects the levy and size of spending in a taxing body.

For more information and videos, visit our Facebook Page at


Property Tax Going Up?

Quadrennial Reassessments

Every four years Illinois Counties reassess every single property on the tax roles for the purpose of levying Property Taxes. Cook County reassesses properties every three years.

2019 is the quadrennial reassessment year for Lake County. Invariably, there will be winners and losers, as some properties have seen significant increases in value since the last quadrennial reassessment in 2015. Homes like Condos and townhomes have seen the largest value increases since 2015.  Condo and townhome owners may be in for some unpleasant surprises on their 2020 tax bills.  On the flip side, homes that already increased in value prior to the last reassessment may see some tax relief from the 2019 quadrennial reassessment.  Homes in the $250k+ range mostly fall into this category. This is because their assessments already accounted for their higher values, and that segment of the market has seen some softening in recent years.

Why does property tax go up even if property values go down?

Why do property taxes always go up even when my home values go down? This is a more complicated concept that I discuss at length in the video. Spoiler alert: It has to do with the fact that your value doesn’t truly determine your property taxes, more specifically, your value compared to the value of others’ homes is what determines your property tax.

What will your tax bill look like in 2020? Will your property taxes be going up again? This video goes in depth to understand your property taxes in their entirety, using very easy to understand analogies and explanations.


If you have more questions or you would like more information after watching the video, please feel free to reach out to me anytime.  Stay up to date on what’s happening in Lake County by “liking” me on Facebook. My official page on Facebook is  You can also sign up for my newsletter by clicking here:

If you would like more information on Property taxes, please visit my property tax information page here:


Problem with Lake County Property Tax Bill Problems Identified

Problem with Lake County Property Tax Bill Problems Identified

It has come to my attention that a number of Property Tax Bills have been reported to not include the correct eligible exemptions for property tax payers. As such, some bills are reporting too high and some bills are reporting too low.

I encourage all residents to evaluate their bills for accuracy, and to confirm that you are getting all of the exemptions you are eligible for.

This guide will help you determine if you are receiving your eligible exemptions.

If you have any questions about your bill or your exemptions, please contact the Lake County Treasurers Office at 847-377-2323 or email at You can also contact your local Township Assessor for more information.

Commissioner Barr Casts Sole “No” Vote For Question To Raise Property Tax Cap Rate For Forest Preserve

Commissioner Barr Casts Sole “No” Vote For Question To Raise Property Tax Cap Rate For Forest Preserve

The Lake County Forest Preserve District voted to request Legislative Authority to ask voters to exceed the Illinois Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) Property Tax Cap. The Resolution passed 20 Yeas to 1 Nay, with Commissioner Barr casting the sole “nay” vote.

Below is a quote from the April 25th Chicago Tribune article reporting on the story.

Not everyone on the forest preserves board was in favor of the move toward asking to exceed tax caps. At the April 9 meeting, member Dick Barr of Round Lake Beach cast the sole vote against the resolution, saying “one of the biggest complaints in my district is since the housing bust in 2008, the values of their properties have declined. Some are starting to stabilize, yet their property taxes are continually increasing.”

“I do object to the language in the resolution that refers to the reduction in the home values as one of the reasons we need to increase this,” Barr added.

On his Facebook Page, Barr defended his “no” vote, stating:

I ran on a platform on reducing property taxes. I could not, in good conscience, vote to allow a referendum that could increase them.

I was the only ‘no’ vote to get legislative authority to increase the Forest Preserve Property Tax Cap. Some Commissioners said we are not voting to increase the tax cap, we are voting to give the Public the opportunity to vote to increase the tax cap.

They are correct.

However, my District represents 1/21th of the County. Our property taxes are nearing 5-6% of value. I don’t want the other 20/21th of the County, most with far lower property tax ratios, raising the property taxes in our District.”

With the resolution passed, the FPD Legislative Committee will engage state lawmakers in a process to allow the Forest Preserve District to have the Legislative Authority to ask the voters at a future election if they will allow the Forest Preserve District to increase.

Barr stated that he will not support or campaign for any referendum initiative that will lead to an increase in Property Taxes.

The County should focus on new economic development to generate additional funding opportunities for our Forest Preserve. We can no longer keep going back to the residents for more money when it is clear they are growing more and more frustrated with constantly rising taxes. Until more viable funding options are on the table, we have no choice but to tighten our belts and limit our spending.”

Click here for the full story at the Chicago Tribune.


Lake County Board Eliminates Pension Contributions For Elected Members

Lake County Board Eliminates Pension Contributions For Elected Members

On Tuesday, January 15th, the Lake County Board, in its first regular session of its new term voted down a resolution that would have continued tax dollars funding pension contributions for County Board Members. The vote fell largely along party lines, with one Democrat voting with the Republicans to kill the resolution. One Member, Paul Frank of Highland Park was absent. The vote was 10 Members in favor of continuing Taxpayer funded pension contributions to 10 Members opposed to Taxpayer funded pension contributions. The rules of the Board require a majority of Members present to pass any vote. In the event of a tie, any vote fails.

On his Facebook page, newly elected Board Member, Dick Barr, had this to say:

I am very proud of what the County Board was able to accomplish today, which allowed me to fulfill a campaign promise.

We eliminated Taxpayer Funded Pension contributions for all County Board Members.”

Barr thanked his constituents who responded to his survey requesting their opinion on the matter. He indicated 94% of respondents opposed a continuation of Board Member pensions.

When it was realized by the Board the measure would likely fail, due to the absence of Member Frank, Member Bill Durkin of Highland Park made a motion to postpone the vote to a later date.  Immediately after the motion, Member Barr called a Point of Order to invoke a little known rule from Robert’s Rules of Order that had most of the room stumped, causing a recess to allow time for the Chair and Parlimentarian to review the invoked rule.

A motion to postpone is out of order when the date of the next regularly scheduled meeting passes a statutory time deadline. Further, no motion to postpone can be made to a special meeting that is not already on the calendar,” said Barr.

The failure of the motion to postpone caused a vote to be called and subsequently fail.

While this represents minimal savings, I consider this a huge win for the taxpayers, and hopefully a model of what all Governments should be looking at for part time elected officials,” said Barr.