Thursday, March 19, 2009

Question of the Day: I live in Cumberland subdivision in the City of Joliet. Why is Plainfield Library on my tax bill?

There are two different situations that have both City of Joliet Library and Plainfield Public Library District appearing on your tax bill. You can determine which situation applies to you by looking at the tax code that appears on your tax bill or voter's registration card.

If you are in Tax Code 611 or 618, your property was in the Plainfield Library District when the bonds were passed on the existing building, but your property has since de-annexed from the Library District. Residents of 611 & 618 pay about $10 per year to the Plainfield Library District, only the bond portion of the District’s tax rate. That bond will be paid off in 2010 and going off 611 & 618 tax bills. Residents of 611 & 618 are not considered residents of the Plainfield Library District and cannot vote on the upcoming ballot measure. They are residents of the City of Joliet and must get their library card from the Joliet Public Library. This includes the east half of Mayfair, Brookside, Cumberland, Lakewood on Caton, plus about 12 homes in Aspen Falls and 3 homes in McKenna Woods.

If you are in Tax Code 612, your property is in both the City of Joliet Library and Plainfield Public Library District, due to a court decision back in the 1980’s. Residents of 612 are entitled to library cards and full privileges from both libraries, and will be able to vote on the upcoming ballot measure. Unfortunately, the library director that preceded me refused to give library cards to Tax Code 612 patrons for many years, a policy that was an egregious wrong to those residents. Shortly after my arrival at the Plainfield Library, we began issuing cards to those residents and worked with the City of Joliet to find a resolution to the problem. Part of that resolution is allowing these residents to hold library cards from both libraries. Each year your tax rate total, between the two lines shown on your tax bill, is equivalent to whichever tax rate is higher, Plainfield's or Joliet's. If Joliet's is higher, the "Plainfield Library Special" line on your tax bill will be zeroed out. If Plainfield's is higher, you see the Joliet rate and a special rate that is the difference between the Joliet rate and the total rate for Plainfield. This includes the west half of Mayfair and Aspen Falls, except those dozen that are 611.

These groups (612, 611, and 618) are all right next door to one another, so you can have one neighbor in 612 and the person across the street in 611. Frustrating and confusing to many, I know but our district's irregular boundaries were logical once upon a time (when it was all farm fields...).

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