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Local Editorials

Our view: Treasurer did right by reversing decision on prepayments

For Kendall County property owners, the initial announcement from the Kendall County Treasurer’s Office concerning the prepayment of property taxes was not encouraging.

The federal tax reform law passed by the Republican-controlled Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump puts a $10,000 cap on the amount that taxpayers can deduct each year in local, state and property taxes. As a result, many property owners here in Kendall County and across the country set out to prepay their taxes for the coming year in the hopes of saving some money before the new law took effect Jan. 1.

But the county had never previously accepted prepayment of property tax bills and Jill Ferko, county treasurer, said Dec. 21 that her office would not accept the prepayments because it had no policy or computer software in place to accept them. This, naturally, upset taxpayers seeking to save as much money as they could before the $10,000 federal deduction cap was put in place. Some of the disgruntled taxpayers were quick to vent their displeasure to Ferko and her staff at the county office building in Yorkville.

The complaints, evidently, were taken seriously by Ferko, who reversed course the very next day and announced that her office would accept prepayments from each taxpayer equal to one installment payment or the entire amount of their 2017 property tax bills rounded up to the nearest $100.

Though Congress had been debating provisions of the tax reform bill since early November, whether the final version would, in fact, contain the $10,000 cap on local, state and property tax deductions was not known until Congress actually voted on the bill. As a result, Ferko and her staff found themselves in the position of having to provide a service on short notice that the taxpaying public had previously not requested and that her office was not equipped to provide. We commend Ferko for listening to taxpayers and acting quickly to make the necessary adjustments that allowed her office to accept the prepayments.

According to tax-rates.org, Kendall County has the dubious distinction of having the 29th highest median property taxes out of the nation’s 3,143 counties. In the Chicago region, only DuPage and Lake counties are ahead of Kendall on the list of highest median property taxes. Thanks to Ferko and her staff, county property owners were provided with the opportunity to pay their property taxes early and potentially save a bit on their already too high property taxes.

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