Nonbinding Referendum

For the November 6th, 2018 election, Oak Park voters were asked to vote "yes" or "no" on the following nonbinding referendum:

“Shall the merger and consolidation of Oak Park taxing bodies be considered, including, but not limited to, the Village of Oak Park, Oak Park Township, the Oak Park Public Library and the Park District of Oak Park, to determine if there would be efficiencies, the elimination of redundancies and/or property tax reduction for the residents of Oak Park?”

Oak Park Township is providing this informational webpage to keep residents informed.  Please check back for updates as we receive them.  


The following is a joint statement from the Park District of Oak Park, Oak Park Public Library and Oak Park Township issued on November 7, 2018 (with additional Township-specific information included).

Oak Park votes yes on merger and consolidation nonbinding referendum

Collaboration is vital for addressing issues, effecting change

What happens now?

All next steps are to be determined. Because this referendum was nonbinding, no direct action is tied to its approval. The library, the park district, and the township will continue to provide quality services, programs, and resources accessible to everyone in our community with a fiscally responsible approach.

Combined, roughly 11.5 percent of your tax bill comes from the park district (4.6%), the library (4.5%) and the township (2.4%). This equates to $1,380 for a $12,000 tax bill, the median in Oak Park for the 2016 taxes paid in 2017, according to Ali ElSaffar, Oak Park Township Assessor.  

Serving community needs

During the 2017-18 fiscal year, Oak Park Township served the needs of 20,500 individuals.  The Township continues to operate within the property tax cap limitations, and has never issued bonds or other debt.  The Township has consistently kept expenses low through cooperative purchasing, shared services, and outsourcing functions.

“The Park District agrees taxes routinely need to be evaluated,” said Jan Arnold, Executive Director of the Park District of Oak Park. “To date, there is no known data that shows consolidation will save money. There is research that shows consolidation can reduce services.”

Since long before the referendum to consider consolidation was put on the Nov. 6 ballot, the library, township, and park district have been collaborating to address issues and shared concerns in our community. Regardless of any next steps to study consolidation, they will continue to work to create positive change for Oak Park.

“We know that we must work together with all other local governmental entities to effect positive change for our community,” said David J. Seleb, Executive Director of the Oak Park Public Library.   

Welcoming your feedback

The library, the park district, and the township continue to welcome your feedback in person, at community meetings, and via our websites.

Articles on Consolidation from Election Results

​Opinion Article "Why Consolidation is not the Answer" by Oak Park Township Assessor Ali ElSaffar - Wednesday Journal, October 31, 2018

News Article "Should Taxing Bodies Consolidate?" by Wednesday Journal reporter Timothy Inklebarger - Wednesday Journal, October 31, 2018

Video from "The Doris Davenport Show" on October 21, 2018

Oak Park Township Supervisor Clarmarie Keenan was a guest on this show along with several community members including representatives from the Village of Oak Park and the Park District of Oak Park.  The group discussed the nonbinding referendum, its potential impact on the taxing bodies, and the community in general.

Fact Sheet on Nonbinding Referendum

Collaborative Fact Sheet Produced by Park District of Oak Park, Oak Park Public Library and Oak Park Township

From Township Officials of Illinois (TOI)
Report Summary Brochure:  Local Democracy and Townships in the Chicagoland Area



Oak Park Levies from 2015 to 2018
Data compiled by Oak Park Township Assessor Ali ElSaffar


Notes on Changes in the Tax Burden of Property Classes due to Reassessment.  The 2017 reassessment of Oak Park Township resulted in substantial variation for individual tax bills.  Whereas tax bills fell for about one-third of Oak Park property owners, more than one-quarter of property owners saw tax increases of more than 10%. 

The changes for individual tax bills, however, were much more dramatic than the changes by class.  For example, homeowners paid 80.7% of Oak Park taxes before the reassessment, and 81.0% after the reassessment.  There was a little more variation within the class of homeowners, with single family homeowners and owners of two- to six-flats paying a little more, and condominium owners paying a little less.  The change was more dramatic for owners of townhomes, who are paying 6% less in taxes this year compared to last year.

Business properties—commercial properties, industrial properties and large apartment buildings—had a very small decline in their share of the Oak Park tax burden, falling from 19.3% to 19.0%.  Apartment buildings with seven units or more had a 9% tax increase, whereas commercial property owners saw a 2% decline.  And Oak Park’s already small industrial sector got even smaller.

When Oak Park was reassessed in 2002, there were much more substantial changes in the tax burden.  Because of the 2002 reassessment, the tax burden for homeowners increased from 69.6% of the tax burden to 74.5%, while the burden on business properties fell from 30.4% to 25.5%.  Compared to 2002, the 2017 assessment of Oak Park resulted in very little change in the allocation of tax burdens by property class.



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