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An Ordinance to Create a Cook County Circuit Breaker Program

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Date Introduced: 11/5/2008
Date Passed:

Sponsors:
Claypool, Quigley, Suffredin
Co-Sponsors:
Collins, Goslin, Peraica

Summary:

Ordinance to create a Cook County Circuit Breaker Program to provide property tax relief to certain households.


Activity Log:

11/5/2008
Referred to Committee on Finance.

Full Text of Legislation:

AN ORDINANCE TO ESTABLISH

A COOK COUNTY CIRCUIT BREAKER PROGRAM

 

WHEREAS, there is an over reliance on real estate property tax as a means of revenue generation in Cook County and the State of Illinois; and

 

WHEREAS, families in Cook County are overburdened with high real estate property taxes in a time when national and local economic conditions have deteriorated, and incomes are uncertain; and

 

WHEREAS, low and moderate income homeowners, as well as homeowners who lose part or all of their income, can quickly become overburdened by real estate property taxes if levies or home values rapidly increase and  annual assessment adjustments to reflect declining market conditions are not possible; and

 

WHEREAS, for all homeowners except seniors with very low incomes, real estate property taxes are unrelated to a property owner’s ability to pay; and

 

WHEREAS, the Illinois Circuit Breaker Program does not adequately address the needs of Cook County Homeowners; and

 

WHEREAS, a Cook County Property Tax Circuit Breaker would prevent real estate property taxes from overloading a family’s budget by limiting the real estate property tax to five percent (5%) of a family’s income up to a maximum benefit of $700; and

 

WHEREAS, for municipalities with real estate property tax rates below one hundred fifty percent (150%) of the median Cook County real estate property tax rate, the Cook County Board of Commissioners desires such municipalities to join in its efforts to ensure that families residing in such municipalities are not overburdened by real estate property taxes by giving these municipalities the option to contribute to a circuit breaker fund and provide their residents real estate property tax relief; and

 

WHEREAS, for municipalities with tax rates at or above one hundred fifty percent (150%) of the median Cook County real property estate tax rate, the Board of Commissioners recognizes the inability of such municipalities to contribute to a circuit breaker fund and desires to provide the residents of such municipalities real estate property tax relief without contribution from such municipalities; and 

 

WHEREAS, the Cook County Board of Commissioners desires to enact a Cook County Circuit Breaker program to provide real estate property tax relief to low and moderate income households in Cook County.

 

BE IT ORDAINED, by the Cook County Board of Commissioners that Chapter 74, Article II, Division 1 Section 74-45, of the Cook County Code is hereby enacted as follows:

 

DIVISION 1.  GENERALLY

 

Sec. 74-45.      COOK COUNTY CIRCUIT BREAKER PROGRAM

 

(a)        Definitions.  The following terms used in this Ordinance shall have the meanings as set forth below:

 

Administrator means the Cook County Assessor’s Office.

 

Claimant means an individual who makes application to the Administrator for a Grant regarding a claim year under this Ordinance.  

 

Claim Year means the real estate property tax year for which Claimant seeks a Grant.

 

Class 2 Real Property means residential properties as defined in Section 74-63(2) of the Cook County Code of Ordinances.

 

County means the County of Cook.

 

Non-contributing Municipality means any municipality in the County containing real estate having a real estate tax rate at or above one hundred fifty percent (150%) of the Median County Property Tax Rate in the claim year and has  elected to participate in the Program through ordinance enacted after the effective date of this Ordinance. 

 

Fund means those monies collected from the State, County and Participating Municipalities and held by the County for distribution to eligible Claimants pursuant to the Ordinance.

 

Grant means an amount of money representing a reduction to a qualifying residence’s real estate property taxes for a given claim year, as determined under this Ordinance.  

 

Household means a claimant, the spouse of the claimant, and all persons using the qualifying residence as their principal place of residence during the claim year.    

 

Household Income means the aggregate annual income of the members of the household in the claim year.  

 

Income has the same meaning as provided by Illinois Statute in Section 3.07 of the Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons Property Tax Relief and Pharmaceutical Assistance Act, 320 ILCS 25/3.07, except that “income” does not include veteran's benefits. 

 

Median County Property Tax Rate means the median real estate property tax rate calculated by using the cumulative real estate property tax rate for a particular municipality in Cook County for the claim year.

 

Contributing Municipality means any municipality in the County containing real estate having a real estate property tax rate that is less than one hundred fifty percent (150%) of the Median County Property Tax Rate in the claim year and has elected to participate in the Program through ordinance enacted after the effective date of this Ordinance.  

 

Ordinance means the Cook County Circuit Breaker Program Ordinance.

 

Participating Municipality means any Non-contributing Municipality or any Contributing Municipality. 

 

Program means the property tax relief provided for under this Ordinance.

 

Property Taxes Accrued means the ad valorem real estate property taxes extended against a residence payable or paid by a claimant for the claim year, excluding special assessments, back taxes, omitted assessments, interest, or service charges such as association or maintenance fees.  “Property taxes accrued” shall be determined after accounting for the application of any and all statutory exemptions, abatements or other reductions as required by law.

 

Qualifying Residence means Class 2 real property located in a Participating Municipality or located in unincorporated Cook County which is used and occupied as a principal place of residence by the Claimant on January 1 of and throughout the claim year.  

 

State means the State of Illinois.

 

(b)        Municipal Participation

 

(1)        A Non-contributing Municipality must provide to the Administrator a certified copy of the ordinance by which it elects to participate in the Program and the Administrator cannot authorize the County to make payment on any Grants regarding qualifying residences in a Non-contributing Municipality until such ordinance is provided.

 

(2)        A Contributing Municipality must provide to the Administrator a certified copy of the ordinance by which it elects to participate in the Program and the Administrator cannot authorize the County to make payment on any Grants regarding qualifying residences in a Contributing Municipality until such ordinance is provided.

 

(c)        Claimant Eligibility Qualifications

 

(1)        Beginning with real estate property tax year 2007 (payable in 2008), and for each tax year thereafter, the Administrator shall determine a claimant’s eligibility for a particular claim year based upon the following:

 

a.         In the claim year, the Claimant shall be a person residing in a qualifying residence;

    

b.         Claimant must be liable for payment of the real estate property taxes of the qualifying residence for the claim year;

 

c.         In the claim year, the Claimant must be the owner of record of the qualifying residence or have a legal or equitable interest in the property as evidenced by a written instrument, or Claimant must have a leasehold interest in the qualified residence as evidenced by a written instrument; 

 

d.         Claimant shall make a grant application to the Administrator, in a manner and form prescribed by the Administrator; and  

 

e.         Claimant shall not be eligible for a grant regarding a claim year on a qualifying residence if: 1.) the Administrator has already approved a grant for the qualifying residence in that claim year; or 2.) the Claimant was approved for a grant regarding a different qualifying residence in that claim year.  

 

(d)  Grant Amount  

 

(1)        If the Administrator determines that a Claimant is eligible for a grant regarding a claim year on a qualifying residence, the amount of the Grant shall be the lesser of:

 

a.          $700.00; or

 

b.          the amount of the Property Taxes Accrued on the Qualifying Residence for the claim year that is greater than 5% of the Claimant’s household income.   

 

(e)        Administration of the Cook County Circuit Breaker

           

(1)        The Administrator shall have the authority to create and enforce rules it deems necessary to carry its responsibilities under this Ordinance.  The Administrator may delegate any of its duties contained herein to a Participating Municipality.

 

(2)        The Administrator shall have the authority and discretion to determine the eligibility of a Claimant, the amount of the Grant, and the type of supporting documentation that a Claimant must provide including but not limited to affidavit and financial records in order to ensure that the tax savings resulting from the Grant are distributed only to qualifying Claimants.

 

(3)        The Administrator shall have the authority to direct the County to make payment to an eligible Claimant for a Grant in an amount authorized under this Ordinance. 

 

(4)        The Administrator shall establish a date on which all grant applications for a particular claim year must be received by the Administrator and after which no application can be made.  The Administrator shall establish a date upon which all applications shall be reviewed and a final determination is made as to: 1.) which Claimants shall be eligible to receive a Grant; and 2.) the Grant amount each eligible Claimant shall be authorized to receive.

 

(5)        The Administrator shall establish a date upon which a final determination must be transmitted to the County as to: 1.) which Claimants shall be eligible to receive a Grant; and 2.) the Grant amount each eligible Claimant shall be authorized to receive. Upon receipt of this transmission, the County shall make payment to Claimants determined to be eligible to receive a Grant in the amount authorized by the Administrator.     

 

(f)        Funding of the Cook County Circuit Breaker

 

(1)        The County shall establish and maintain a Fund to finance Grants to Claimants that the Administrator has determined to be eligible for such relief. The County shall collect monies and distribute authorized Grants to eligible Claimants pursuant to this Ordinance.   

 

(2)        The County and Contributing Municipalities shall provide sufficient monies to the County for the Fund in order to cover their requisite share of the cost of Grants regarding a claim year for qualifying residences.   

 

(3)        The Administrator shall determine the requisite share that Contributing Municipalities and the County will be required to provide to the Fund regarding grants authorized by the Administrator.  

 

(4)        The County and Contributing Municipalities shall pay their requisite share into the Fund, if any, within 30 days after the Administrator transmits to the County the Administrator’s final determination regarding: 1.) which Claimants shall be eligible to receive a Grant; and 2.) the Grant amount each eligible Claimant shall be authorized to receive.

 

(5)        The County shall not make payment to any eligible Claimant for a grant amount authorized by the Administrator regarding a qualifying residence until the applicable Contributing Municipality and the County have paid their requisite share into the Fund regarding grants authorized by the Administrator. 


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