The Rockford Files

The New Math: 66 < 60

How much would you pay for a library card?  In Rockford, if you are not a resident, you have to pay $140 per year for the privilege of using the Rockford Public Library system.  With six branches scattered throughout the city and over 400,000 volumes, most avid readers who aren’t relying on the library for scholarly research would get their money’s worth in a few months.

But what if you had to pay $4,197.24?  And what if the cost of your library card were based on the assessed value of your house, so that, in all likelihood, it would rise every year?

That’s what one homeowner in Bradley Heights/Larchmont will have to pay if the city of Rockford succeeds in annexing the neighborhood—and that’s in addition to the actual tax levy for the library, which will amount to another $580.50 (approximately).  Meanwhile, the 94 property owners in Bradley Heights/Larchmont will pay an average of $1,124.11 over the next year (as well as the actual tax levy) for the privilege of being able to check out the latest Dan Brown novel.  That’s the difference between the taxes they would have paid if their neighborhood had remained an unincorporated area in Winnebago County (with a 2006 property-tax rate of 8.189 percent) instead of being forced into the city of Rockford (with a 2007 property-tax rate of 10.4709 percent), according to a spreadsheet put together by Bradley Heights resident...

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