We, as south suburban communities in Thornton Township, are writing in response to the referendum question that is being proposed for the April 4 ballot regarding additional property taxes for mental health facilities and services.
We are united in understanding the good intent behind the referendum because we all deeply care about the mental health of our constituents. We recognize that mental health issues are a concern both in the south suburban region and worldwide, and that all individuals should have access to mental health treatment of the highest quality.
However, in our opinion, the method to pay for this is not to impose additional taxes on the south suburban communities, because we as a region are significantly overtaxed already. This region has some of the highest real estate property taxes in the country. It is vital not to add to that, especially when there are a number of existing services that are effectively serving, and more county, state, and federal sources that are being contemplated to fund these services.
Mental health care costs and care should be borne by the state and county governments, such as the transformational American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding proposal for a Cook County Health Far South Suburban Integrated Healthcare Clinic, including expanded behavioral health services, which unfortunately has not come to fruition.
There are a significant number of mental health services and facilities in our communities already (988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, 211 for Essential Community Services, VA Emergency Mental Health care for all Veterans, and South Suburban College Mental Health and Wellness Services, plus other service providers), and we look forward to working with county, state, and federal authorities for additional support without incurring additional property taxes.
With this in mind, we, as the leadership in the south suburban communities of Thornton Township, would encourage a no vote on the April 4 referendum that levies an annual tax to provide community mental health facilities and services.
Napoleon B. Harris III, state senator, 15th Senate District.
Donna Miller, Cook County Board commissioner, 6th District.
Richard A. Hofeld, mayor, village of Homewood.
Robert R. Kolosh, mayor, village of Thornton.
Patricia L. Eidam, mayor, village of Lansing.
Lawrence L. Jackson, mayor, village of Riverdale.
Vernard Alsberry Jr., president, village of Hazel Crest.
Thaddeus M. Jones, mayor, city of Calumet City.
Roger A. Agpawa, mayor, city of Markham.
Don A. De Graff, mayor, village of South Holland.
Christopher J. Clark, mayor, city of Harvey.
Thomas A. Brown, president, village of East Hazel Crest.
Ronald J. Gardiner, president, village of Glenwood.