Is it time to move out of the city of Chicago?
Are you raising a family in the city of Chicago? Is it time to leave? Is it time to move to Evanston? Maybe you’re thinking Oak Park, Evergreen Park or Berwyn? Maybe Park Ridge?
Have you had enough? Have you started your pros and cons list?
Considering Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s push to raise property taxes $588 million, the cons are getting heavier. That adds $543.00 to the tax bill on a home valued at $250,000.00. Is your home worth $500,000.00? Add $1,086.00 to your property taxes.
And that property tax doesn’t include new fees on garbage hauling, increases on building permit fees, taxes on ride sharing and taxi trips.
Get out your wallet Chicago.
Oh, and by the way, Chicago Public Schools is underfunded by HALF A BILLION dollars and will have to lay off more teachers and staff if the state of Illinois doesn’t fund that gap.
That fact alone should give Chicago families pause: CPS is relying on the state of Illinois—which is almost three months overdue on passing a budget—to fund a $500 million gap. All to fund a lackluster school district (to put it kindly). Good luck with that.
Is Oak Park starting to look better to you?
Years ago, my sister-in-law came to visit our Chicago home. She lives in suburban Kansas City and was used to a certain ease that went with it. She couldn’t understand something as everyday as street parking: “You have to find a different spot in the street every day when you get home from work and lug the car seat to and from the car down the block?!?”
Getting our kids into the house from the truck was always a chore and at times an adventure. Whereas, she was used to zipping into her warm garage, closing the garage door and getting her children out of her truck.
There was an arrogance we had living in Chicago. We can deal with street parking. We can deal with traffic. We can deal with bullshit parking tickets and red light cameras and revenue schemes city government thinks up to fund itself. It’s not easy living in the city, but in the end it’s worth it.
But is it?
My breaking point happened in late February 2013. We had another overnight snowfall. It was still dark out and I was outside clearing my wife’s truck of snow so she could load the children in the truck and take them to daycare before getting herself to work. I was a couple weeks away from my 40th birthday. Finally I said: This is bullshit. Why am I outside in the cold, shoveling this truck out at 6:00am? I don’t need to live like this. The following week, we put our place on the market and moved to the suburbs.
It wasn’t just the snow—although that was my breaking point. Our children were four and one at the time, so getting into a good school district was important. We didn’t want to have to wrestle, beg or grease someone to get our children into good schools. So we moved. Now, our son puts on a backpack and the school bus comes to our front door. He gets on the bus and goes to an excellent school. No wrestling. No going through my network for help. No greasing school administrators. No need for our five year old son to take a test to get into kindergarten at a decent school.
The fact that a city has to spend money and create Safe Passage zones for school children to get to and from school safely is absolutely ridiculous. And we become immune to its ridiculousness. It’s just part of life in the big city.
In Chicago, we were anonymous on our block. Now, I know and hang out with my neighbors. We eat and drink together. It is easy to get to the store and back. I don’t need to do all my errands before 10:30am to beat traffic. There’s no puke and beer bottles on my lawn (and I have a lawn and a yard that the kids play in!). We can load our children into and out of our cars without leaving the freaking house and dealing with snow. Something as simple as not having to dig out a truck and put lawn furniture into the street to save a parking spot makes it worth it to me.
And I haven’t mentioned the nine people killed and 45 people shot in Chicago last weekend.
There are drawbacks. We complain about restaurant choices which are average at best. We’re much less likely to take advantage of the many cultural options the city provides than when we could take a cab to theater and back. My commute is 26 miles as opposed to seven. Oh, and I suppose my taxes went up too.
But restaurants are our major complaint. Restaurants.
We don’t worry about random violence. We don’t worry about our kids’ education. We feel safe. We can deal with average restaurants.
It is so much (expletive deleted) easier to live in the suburbs. So. Much. Easier.
With the state of Chicago Public Schools and the tax increase—is it time for families to flee for the suburban life? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.