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Only Oswego

Letter: Sales Tax Increase Passed in Face of Voter Apathy

Jul 13, 2015 09:37PM ● By Steven Jack

Congratulations to the 80% of registered voters who didn’t vote in the recent Oswego Village election, and to the additional 10% who voted for the group who campaigned on a promise of increased taxes to pay for their “dreams for Oswego."   

You are now reaping the benefits of your apathy and ill-advised voting with the .75% sales tax increase passed by the new regime at Oswego Village Hall. Their basic justification was that Oswego had a lower sales tax and needed to match other municipalities.  Now, Oswego has the highest sales tax of any regional municipality except for Aurora. 

And to the 10% who did show up to vote, and voted for the fiscal austerity team which lost the election here’s my message. Let’s begin with our plight.

Kendall County ranks in the top 1% of property taxes from all counties across America.  Until now, the only component of your property tax bill that was under control was the Village of Oswego.  The past administration found ways to pay all their bills, capital improvements (e.g., roads), find suitable quarters for police, etc.  This is all gone, and is replaced by a tax/borrow/spend regime. 

Already the former Village law firm who spent much effort and money to get this new regime elected has replaced the current one—this former firm charged several hundreds of thousands of dollars more in the past, and will soon be running up your tab once again.  You will soon see more political payoffs, such as a TIF which is nothing more than a tax on us to finance developers who wish to develop at a lower cost to themselves (at your expense).  The drumbeat will roll on, I guarantee you.

So, what can the 10% I’m writing this to do about our plight?  Don’t give up!  Start spreading the word to your neighbors, friends, older children, and all folks you meet about our plight in Oswego and Kendall County. 

Make people aware that their participation in local politics can really have an effect.  These tax/borrow/spend folks are only brave in the face of taxpayer and voter apathy.  If they are questioned by citizens at their Board meetings, see articles in the local media about their actions, and see the voter turnout increase on election days, they quickly cower and backtrack on their “dreams of spending your money” uselessly and irresponsibly. 

Although I’m now a senior, I still remember the time demands of working full-time, raising a family, going to our kids’ school & sporting events. Please don’t let this deter you from taking a more active role in your local politics.  If you do, you do so at your own peril.  If you have any questions about how you can help, give me a call or email ( 

Leonard R Wass, Oswego