Mary Beth Jachec lives in a three-bedroom house in Wauconda, a village of 14,000 in Illinois, 45 miles northwest of Chicago. Her semi-detached brick home is unassuming. Her tax bills are not.
The 53-year-old insurance manager gets a real estate tax bill for 20 different local government authorities and a total payout of about $7,000 in 2014. They include the Village of Wauconda, the Wauconda Park District, the Township of Wauconda, the Forest Preserve, the Wauconda Area Public Library District, and the Wauconda Fire Protection District.
Then there is Wauconda Road and Bridge, not to be confused with Road and Bridge, Wauconda Gravel, or with Wauconda Special Road Improvement and Gravel unit – all three of which have imposed separate taxes on her and the village’s other homeowners.
Those three road entities come under the auspices of Wauconda Township. Officials there struggled to explain exactly what they each do, and why three separate taxing bodies are needed. The Wauconda Township Highway Commissioner, Joe Munson, said: “They are all for road maintenance.” So why three? “I don’t know why,” Munson said. “It’s always been that way.” […]
The average homeowner pays taxes to six layers of government, and in Wauconda and many other places a lot more. In Ingleside, 55 miles north of Chicago, Dan Koivisto pays taxes to 18 local bodies. […]
The state is home to nearly 8,500 local government units, with 6,026 empowered to raise taxes, by far the highest number in the U.S. Texas – whose population is more than twice that of Illinois - is second highest with about 5,150 local government units. Florida, with a population 54 percent greater than Illinois, has just 1,650, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.