Updated: May 15, 2013 6:52AM
I moved into Olympia Fields in 2000, building a house for about $430,000. The property tax on my home at that time was approximately $8,500 per year.
About six months ago, I refinanced my house to lower the interest rate, and the appraisal valued it at $100,000 less than I paid. The current annual property tax is $13,500 per year — a whopping $5,000 a year increase in about 10 years.
Olympia Fields is one of the highest-taxed communities in the state. My best friend lives in Chicago’s Beverly community in a house with similar square footage and pays less than half the property tax that I pay, has streetlights and free garbage pickup and his home is maintaining more that 95 percent of its value despite the economic downturn.
Anyone who bothers to check will realize that he can get the same size house in Homewood or Frankfort or Matteson and pay about half the property tax. To make matters worse, four homes near mine are in foreclosure, further driving down home values.
Olympia Fields is an aging community, and most residents don’t have 10 or 20 years to hope for a housing turnaround. The situation is not going to get better on its own. The sad truth is that Olympia Fields does not have, nor has it had, anyone with the executive leadership skills to address the ongoing property crisis.
Please don’t take my word for any of this. Check with your real estate agent, get your home appraised, compare your tax bill with that of similar homes in neighboring communities. The downward spiral is going to continue unless residents take an honest look at their options.
Dr. Greg DeSadier
It’s important to know
People need to be aware of the sex offenders who live in their immediate area. Where I reside, there are at least 10 convicted sex offenders, according to Palos Hills police. While these criminals are required by law to register and there are plenty of websites one can go to for such information, I don’t think enough people do.
Our children are our future, and they need to be kept safe. There is a sex offender living one block away from me and my family, which I learned from the police department website. But some people do not have access to the Internet or know how to use it well.
I think regular public meetings should be held to inform residents of crime in their area, including the presence of sex offenders. Not only will it bring more safety for our children but a sense of togetherness among community members.
Charter schools con game
How does the Chicago Public Schools open up new charter schools (giving them additional resources), drain the student population from the neighborhood schools and then declare the neighborhood schools “underutilized?” It reminds me of the sleight of hand of many scammers — “Now you see it, now you don’t.”
Chicago’s Morgan Park community