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Property Values Down, But Property Taxes Up

CHICAGO (CBS) -- It's a cruel reality. Property taxes are up all over Chicagoland, according to a new report.

In the city and suburb after suburb, property values are dropping, but tax levies for schools and services are going up.

That means and most homeowners are - in effect - paying more taxes on homes that are worth less.

CBS 2's Roseanne Tellez talked with residents in suburban Cook County an area hard hit by rising property tax rates.

Everyone is paying more, but the breakdown of effective property taxes might surprise you.

The Civic Federation, a government watchdog group, released a report on local property taxes on Monday.

"That means for a similar house in Schaumburg, or in Oak Park, or in the city of Chicago, the city has the lowest effective tax rate," Civic Federation President Laurence Msall said.

He said the group's report "allows for an apples to apples comparison" – same type of house, same number of rooms, same square footage.

Increases of between 10 and 13 percent in Lake Forest, Wheaton and Chicago might sound huge – a $5,000 tax bill, for example, would go up $535.

But compare that to areas like Waukegan, Elk Grove Village and Schaumburg where the effective rate increase from the 2008 tax year to 2009 is a whopping 27.8 percent. A $5,000 tax bill there would go up $1,390.

This is at a time when property values are decreasing.

"Absolutely everything in our neighborhood is down substantially," said Schaumburg homeowner Kim Zelden.

Is she angry? "You can't help but be upset about it," she said.

Joe Vermiglio, one of her neighbors, said, "That's the biggest bite; is the property values have been going down and the taxes have been going up. It doesn't sound reasonable."

Vermiglio, like all the residents we talked to on their street in Schaumburg, fights his property taxes every year.

"We wind up either paying a lawyer for the reduction, or paying the county for the taxes. So, either way, you catch it from both ends," said Vermiglio.

The answer, said Msall, is growing the economy and growing the economic base of all the communities in the region. The more commercial taxes that are collected, the better off most communities are.

You can see where your community stands. Just go to the Civic Federation website to access their report.

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