Moving Out of Woodstock Because of Property Tax Burden

A Chicago Triune editorial featured a Woodstock family who moved to Colorado:

This moving van headed west t Colorado from Crystal Lake.

Donald Felz, a lifelong Illinoisan who retired from a utility company in 2016, says a sinking home value and taxes drove him and his wife, Debi, out of Illinois.

The Woodstock home they built in 2006 for $390,000, into which they put another $35,000, was losing value.

This was to be the house where the Felzes would host grandchildren and putz in the yard. Instead, rather than put their retirement finances in further peril, they sold it in 2016 for $310,000.

The property tax bill had climbed from $7,658 in 2007 to $8,340 in 2015.

That’s not a huge rate of increase.

But had their housing value remained at the purchase price, the taxes would have been nearly $12,500.

A falling Illinois home value kept a high Illinois tax bill from rising higher.

The frustration, Felz said from his current home in Windsor, Colo., was more than taxes.

It was how those dollars were spent: “If I could have seen some incremental improvement that followed the increases, then OK. I get it. I see it. But the roads were not getting fixed. The schools were still struggling. I couldn’t figure it out. The money was going somewhere.”

In Colorado, taxes on their home, valued at $510,000 and climbing, are about $4,000 a year.

Earlier this year, Felz returned to Illinois to visit his father.

They spent evenings on the sofa watching TV and digesting the constant scroll of campaign ads from candidates running in the March primary election.

That gave Donald Felz one more reason to appreciate his new home in Colorado:

“We have term limits.”


Moving Out of Woodstock Because of Property Tax Burden — 20 Comments

  1. “An unnamed source who spoke with the condition of anonymity added Mr. Felz was no longer able to lift a shovel to remove the snow in the winter, which propelled the move to Colorado”. Please stay tuned for more details on this developing story on this sunshine blog. Stay tuned…tic, tock, tic, tock, tic, tock…

  2. Don’t forget the Chicago Federal Reserve has recomended Illinois adds another 1% to your property tax bill to make the many Illinois pension schemes solvent.
    Oh, and that tax will last for 30 years.

    An brilliant plan if there ever was one.

    An audible gasp went out in the breakout room I was in at last month’s pension event cosponsored by The Civic Federation and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. That was when a speaker from the Chicago Fed proposed levying, across the state and in addition to current property taxes, a special property assessment they estimate would be about 1% of actual property value each year for 30 years.

    Evidently, that wasn’t reality-shock enough. This week the speaker and two of his fellow Chicago Fed economists published that proposal formally. It’s linked here.

    It surely ranks among the most blatantly inhumane and foolish ideas we’ve seen yet.

    Homeowners with houses worth $250,000 would pay an additional $2,500 per year in property taxes, those with homes worth $500,000 would pay an additional $5,000, and those with homes worth $1 million would pay an additional $10,000.

    Are they blind to human consequences? Confiscatory property tax rates have already robbed hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of Illinois families of their home equity — probably the lion’s share of whatever wealth they had.

    Property taxes in many Illinois communities already exceed 3%, 4% and even 5% of home values. Across Illinois, the average is a sky-high 2.67 percent, the highest in the nation.

  3. I just checked on-line and it turns out that Illinois really is part of the United States, with a Constitution and everything.

  4. So someone purchased their home, and thus decided that it was worth paying $310K plus the rise in property taxes that comes with the higher value. Sounds like Woodstock just got a little richer and has some nice new neighbors.

    Ya’ll seem to forget that for every person ‘leaving’ McHenry County, someone else is buying the home and the county is growing.

  5. That’s like saying a company whose stock prices are in freefall is doing just fine because someone is picking up the shares.

    Falling home prices are not a sign of a healthy community.

  6. Yes Warren, and while that may be true, it will not stop home devaluations due to
    insane DEMOCRAT tax and spend policies.
    Nor will it stop the growing number of home mortgages that are currently underwater
    or the wealth that is leaving when people flee this state.

  7. And then comes Sanders, with the McHenry County Slack Jawed Goobers Assoc., demographic/economics report.

    Probably your next County Chairman folks.

  8. You had me at Slack Jawed Goobers!!

    Warren must some kinda eekonomick (economic) genius or sumptin’

  9. Chicago sucks the life out the state.

    Wait till the rioting!

    People in the whole state must pay for the catastrophic Chicago Public Schools fiasco.. ..

  10. Angel will be quite happy to replace the intolerant Felzs with delightful illegal aliens from 3rd World Sh@@holes on a 1:50 basis.

    For every productive citizen leaving, he’ll bring in 50 total derelicts who will demand first world services at the remaining taxpayers’ expense.

    Hope they bring their machetes to thank their Angel benefactor in a suitable way.

  11. Woodstock City Council, whose members include property and business owners who benefit from TIF spending within Woodstock Square, has proposed a NEW BIGGER TIF for Woodstock.

    1. They say this will benefit school districts over time.

    QUESTION: WHY, after an expiring 23 year TIF is being followed up by ANOTHER 23 year TIF, is there any logic to support assertions that the school district will EVER see a dime of property tax money from TIF district properties?
    (The same empty promise was made 23 years ago on current TIF: In 23 years, the school district will get “more money”.)

    2. The reason for the TIF is the same: no developers want to build here without economic incentives.
    QUESTION: HOW exactly will enriching developer profits help Woodstock taxpayers?
    ANSWER: it will not help, and without exception, it will HARM property values of taxpayers who are not direct recipients of TIF handouts.
    Economic development only helps when it is contributory to the tax burden of citizens.
    TIF economic development not only is NOT contributory to ~95% of property tax burdens, TIF DISTRICTS ALWAYS RAISE PROPERTY TAX RATES.

    This is not opinion, feeling or political spin, this is mathematical fact:
    100% of the time, this TIF will RAISE property tax rates for all non-politically-connected abated property taxpayers.
    for 23-30 years.
    And probably longer, based upon this latest new 30 year TIF proposal on the heels of the expiring old 23 year TIF.


    3. TIFs have worked elsewhere…so why not here?

    QUESTION: What are the differences between ‘elsewhere’ and here?
    ANSWER: Woodstock’s >4% Property rate which may be in the absolute highest one tenth of one percent of tax rates of any municipality in America.

    (Woodstock city council has never shown constituents a reason for Woodstock’s economic stagnation ASIDE from propty tax rates. Nobody in office has proffered another reason–other than >4%-of-fair-value-property-tax-rate and staggering Woodstock D200 debt burden-per-household—
    for Woodstock economic stagnation, and they have been spending MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars over a decade to pay for ‘economic development’ salaries and projects.)

    4. QUESTION: Why does property tax RATE (>4%) matter so much to property values?
    It is accepted economic valuation method to factor in the annual economic cost-of-carry in pricing homes.
    Think of it like this. The Chicago tax RATE is about 2% LOWER than the Woodstock tax RATE.
    That would have the same economic effect on a household as if the MORTGAGE INTEREST RATE were 2 % higher in Woodstock than in Chicago.
    As a result, Woodstock home values have been down-to flat, while Chicago home values have risen to new highs, over the past decade.

    So Woodstock taxpayers should answer this question if they are given a choice on have a TIF forced upon them by Woodstock City Council property owners:

    Am I willing to pay property tax rates steadily rising above 4% for the next 30 years?
    Do I care if the price of my home keeps going down 2% or more annually relative to the price of a home in Chicago, or 3% or more annually relative to the price of a home everywhere else in America?
    What will I get in return? Properties on the Square, and nearby businesses will be worth relatively more because the diverted property tax money meant for schools will be given to those property owners for’development’.

  12. PR
    I believe a SSA special assessment should be levied on homes, but it should be 1.5% and it should be restricted to Chicago Public School taxing Districts.

    Chicago has escaped the obscene tax rates –accompanied by sickening devaluation of properties–which collar counties have suffered for a decade.

    Chicago has refused to levy higher taxes, instead accruing alt rev bond debt.
    Chicago should be forced to ‘catch up’ with the collar-county property devaluation pain before further tax burden shifts occur, amortized over the whole State of Illinois.

  13. So Felz is complaining about a $700 increase over ten years? And moved to a state that will now tax his retirement income?

    Got it.

  14. Here is the math you failed to comprehend.

    1. $80,000 capital loss on home value.
    (Most home values around America and in Chicago have recovered or exceeded prices of the decade before).

    2. Going forward, 3% lower property tax rate.
    On a $300,000 home, the savings on taxes will be, if the home were fairly assessed in Woodstock, $9000 per year.

    3. Going forward, the price of a home in a 4% property tax rate district will continue to decline at annual rate of 3% relative to the home of same starting value taxed at1%.

    4. Retirement income: assuming $60,000 retirement income (median household income in America), will be
    .0463 x (60,000-24000 exclusion)=

    Total savings by moving out of Woodstock =
    $7333 annually.
    3% of home value not lost to property tax capitalization, annually ($9000 year one, and $9000 every year until he gets his assessment lowered).
    And, a realistic risk that property tax rates in Woodstock will rise even more as D200 CAB matures, Woodstock City rams through a new TIF, and Illinois shifts more teacher pension burdens to local taxpayers.

  15. **Going forward, 3% lower property tax rate.
    On a $300,000 home, the savings on taxes will be, if the home were fairly assessed in Woodstock, $9000 per year.**

    Huh? He wasn’t even paying $9k in property taxes a year.

  16. The property tax rate in Woodstock is above 4% of fair market value.
    There is a homestead exemption of $18000

    So a $310,00 home as stated above , taking homestead exemption should be assessed at $292000.

    I was rounding off numbers.

  17. Tax rate in Woodstock is above 4%, and per the prices quoted in article, taxes in Colorado are below 1%.

    So, the differential savings are 3% (that is, 4%-1%) multiplied by the home value (roughly $300,000.

  18. I’m glad you are taking the time to drill into the numbers, and understand the ‘complex-by-design’property tax system. Most people won’t bother.

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