CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s not every day that homeowners agree to raise their own property taxes, especially when they’re not affluent, but a large group of West Side residents have done just that to pay for a new mental health facility.
It’s the first step in a process that next goes to voters.
Activist Jackie Ingram said a mental health center is desperately needed on the West Side.
“The smallest trigger can send anyone into a rage. We are trying to get our normal back, and we all know it’s not been normal for a long time on the West Side,” she said.
Under the state’s Community Expanded Mental Health Services Act, signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn in 2011, residents of any Chicago community can place a binding referendum on the ballot asking voters to approve a property tax hike to pay for a mental health facility in their neighborhood.
Members of the Coalition to Save Our Mental Health Centers delivered 10,000 petition signatures to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners on Friday. Ingram said they collected double what is required.
“We are here today because they responded with an overwhelming, ‘Yes, I will sign your petition; and, yes, I will raise my property taxes,’” she said.