Tax claims raised in Aurora Twp. race
By Jenette Sturges firstname.lastname@example.org February 22, 2013 1:00PM
Updated: March 25, 2013 6:25AM
Incumbent Christina Campos said she’s running again for the post of Aurora Township supervisor because of her personal, one-on-one successes.
“Just the personal stories, when you touch someone is the rewarding part, personally, when they tell you you’ve provided a service they needed,” said Campos, relating a story about an elderly woman who stopped by the township offices to thank them for their lawn-mowing program. “Those are the little thank-yous that tell you you’re doing a good job.”
But two fellow Democrats, Aurora Township Trustee Bill Catching and former Kane County Board member Paul Greviskes, are challenging Campos because of what they see as failures in her leadership.
“Basically, I decided to run after the payroll advances,” said Catching, referring to the Town Board’s 2011 censure of Campos, after she was accused of taking $2,000 in payroll advances without informing other officials. “I would not run against my party if I thought they were doing a good job, but the advances in my mind certainly disqualify the incumbent for re-election.”
The three candidates will face off in a Democratic primary for Aurora Township supervisor on Tuesday. The winner will face Republican Albert E. Heriaud in the general election on April 9.
Campos has served as Aurora Township supervisor for the past four years. She said that her priority has been providing services to residents.
“I’m a full-time supervisor, I’m here all the time, I’m out in the field with the community and listening to their concerns,” Campos said. “Overall, I feel my achievements have been our youth and seniors, transportation for our veterans, a good partnership with Mutual Ground, providing transportation for the women there.”
Campos said she is proud to have done more with less.
“The taxes have been less, but we’re doing a lot more for the community,” Campos said.
Tax claims in doubt
According to data from a recent audit, however, the township’s tax levy increased by $147,765 from tax year 2008 to 2011. And in March, the board approved a $3,621,723 levy, an increase of $32,971.
Tax rates, meanwhile, have increased from .0737 to .0953 from 2008 to 2011, because of dropping property values in the township.
“To suggest that township taxes have dropped is patently false,” said Catching. “I am more than happy to run on my record. I will defend the fact that we raised taxes — we have an aging fleet of buses, needed emergency repairs on the youth center, and our Dial-a-Ride program continues to grow ... .
“But to suggest in your literature that taxes have dropped is just not true.”
Catching said his first priority as supervisor would be reconciling discrepancies in the over-budget Dial-a-Ride program, which provides door-to-door transportation for residents at $3 a ride.
“Ridership is up significantly, but our revenue is down,” Catching said. “We collect $3 a ride, and those revenues are down despite the fact that ridership is up, and the current supervisor cannot supply an answer why.”
Catching said his other priorities include working more closely with other governments to ensure that services, especially for youth and seniors, are not being duplicated.
He also wants to promote programs that the township offers, such as its revolving loan fund for small businesses, and the Dial-a-Ride program, which he said is mostly spread through word-of-mouth now.
Greviskes said he wants to restore better business practices to the township.
“I have talked to some of the folks down there, and they are sorely lacking good business management practices for running the township,” Greviskes said. “The budget all comes top down, and to hear the supervisor said it, it’s all one fund. But every area of the township is entitled to have their own budget, so they know what they have to work with.”
Greviskes said another top priority is improving how homes in the township are assessed for taxes.
“Houses are apparently unequally valued, and I think it’s really important to people to pay their fair amount, and not more,” Greviskes said.
He said, if elected, he would hold property tax seminars to help ensure that residents are paying taxes fairly compared to their neighbors, and informing residents about how to protest their tax assessments.
Greviskes also said he wanted the township to look for new ways to address issues in the community, such as expanding early childhood education programs.
“The township board is just going along,” he said. “There’s been no new programing that I can see. It’s been the same things for the past 10 or 15 years.”