Most people know that we are being taxed too much and that the property taxes are a major thorn! BUT, there is a way for Winthrop Harbor and Zion to get much needed revenue without raising taxes - and possibly even lowering property taxes. Read on!
If you are a property owner in Massachusetts, you must by law remove and/or treat snow and ice on all walkways and parking lots, zoned residential or business. That means: shovel, plow and/or use salt. If you don't, you will be held liable for any injuries caused by the snow/ice on your property. Other states have similar laws.
Illinois has no such law. In fact, the law states in the Liability For Falls On Snow And Ice (#125.00), "As a general rule, property owners have no duty to remove natural accumulations of snow, ice or melt water from their premises." That's it. No fines or legal action except in rare cases.
In the Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act, "It is declared to be the public policy of this State that owners and others residing in residential units be encouraged to clean the sidewalks abutting their residences of snow and ice." Encouraged? I never feel "encouraged" to shovel... especially when it's below zero, the wind is blowing, or the snowplow dumps snow where you just shoveled! I do it out of common courtesy, obligation, and necessity. And it's not just sidewalks, but mailboxes too. Most people shovel theirs out... but not all.
In cities like Boston, Worcester, and Lynn, sidewalks in front of businesses or residences MUST be shoveled and safe to walk on. If you (property owner) don't, you will be fined. In Worcester, you must remove snow and ice from sidewalks 10 hours after it stops snowing or be fined $75 per day. In Lynn, it's $50 per day. Most comply, especially after the first fine, but a certain percentage won't. And if you won't pay the fines, it's tacked on to your property taxes.
In a winter like the one we've been through, for the city of Lynn, that's over $1,000,000 in fines! In Winthrop Harbor or Zion, that would have been $100,000 to $500,000 in extra funds and relief! There would also be extra work for some in shoveling and plowing. But for now... hey, spring is around the corner! And with the winter we've had, that's relieving for everyone!