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Oak Lawn trustee wants property transfer tax issue back on ballot

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By Joe Boyle

Oak Lawn officials would like to revisit the property transfer tax question that residents voted down in the Nov. 8 election.

Trustee Paul Mallo (3rd) said during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting Tuesday night that he believes residents voted against the measure because they thought it would raise their taxes.

Mayor Terry Vorderer said that by voting against the property transfer tax, the opposite occurred.

“By voting ‘no,’ they (residents) have actually raised their taxes,” Vorderer said.

Mallo said voters were asked to vote “yes” to adjust the transfer tax to close a loophole that has allowed corporations to pay little or no transfer tax. These costs are passed on to Oak Lawn residents, Mallo said.

This loophole has been overlooked for many years, Mallo said. The property transfer tax has been in existence for years but board members became aware of the loophole that allowed at least one commercial property to avoid paying the village a transfer tax over $250,000.

The current village’s tax is written to only apply to the sale or transfer of properties by deed, commercial and residential.

Mallo said he wants to close the loophole regarding the transfer tax by putting this up for residents to again vote on.

“It is unfair that the corporations don’t pay,” Mallo said. “We need to do a better job of informing everyone of what this is about.”

The mayor is in total agreement that this should again be put back on the ballot.

“Hopefully, we can get voters to vote ‘yes’,” the mayor said. “It is in their best interests. No one wants to see their taxes raised but that’s what they ended up voting for.”

Vorderer admitted that the village did not do a good enough job explaining the complexities of this tax. Residents believed they were voting against higher taxes, the mayor added.

During the public forum portion of the meeting, a Chicago resident defended the Oak Lawn police and said that Officer Patrick O’Donnell — who was indicted recently by a Cook County grand jury for his role in the arrest of Hadi Abuatelah, 17, that occurred last summer — has been unfairly treated. O’Donnell is accused of punching the teen several times in the head.

The Chicago resident added that the teen had a gun and that O’Donnell was being “persecuted.” He added that he knows several Oak Lawn police officers and supports them.

Vorderer said Oak Lawn Detective Todd Gross has been named “Detective of the Year” for numerous arrests in various high-profile cases in the village.

“It makes us proud to have such great officers,” Vorderer said. “They do their job and make these arrests and then it is up to the judicial system. Detective Gross had 65 felony arrests.

“Congratulations Detective Todd Gross. You make us proud,” Vorderer added.

Trustee Alex Olejniczak (2nd) was not at the meeting because his mother, Cecelia Olejniczak died.

“Cecelia Olejniczak was 97 years old,” Vorderer said. “She was a great person. Alex and his family took care of her for years. Gold bless Alex and his family.”

Cecelia Olejniczak was well known at St. Gerald Parish, where she served for years as the church organist.

1 Comment

  1. Frances on April 12, 2023 at 4:09 pm

    Sympathies go out to Alex and this family. Also to thank you to Cecelia for being a part of St Gerald’s church!



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