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County Clerks oppose Housing Assistance fee increase being debated in Springfield

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PEORIA (WEEK) -- Several local County Clerks are reacting to a bill passed by the Illinois House last month -- signing a statement against the proposal.

The bill, HB3878, would double the Rental Housing Support Fee from $9 to $18. The money generated from this fee is redistributed as grants for local housing authorities to help offset rental costs for tenants.

The fee is currently assessed on residents when they file deeds and other documents with the County Clerk.

Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman says he opposes the fee increase because not enough of the money that they pay into the program is coming back.

"It's making sure, we're elected. We're charging a fee. We're charging the fee. We want to make sure that that revenue is used appropriately and used responsibly, and we are not seeing that," Ackerman said.

According to a 2019 report by the Illinois housing development program, Tazewell and Peoria Counties paid into the program around $200,000 each year between 2014 and 2016.

However, Peoria County received only around $13,000 back, 6 percent of what they paid in, while Tazewell County received no money.

RHS-Breakdown-by-County

The report says grant money was distributed to 16 Local Administrating Agencies that "identify / pay qualified local landlords for low-income households."

Tazewell County does not have a relationship with any of the approved agencies.

Ackerman added that he had no reason to believe Tazewell County would see any more money if the fee increase was enacted.

If the bill is passed, Ackerman says a task force will study in more detail how and where money collected via the fee is going.

Also signing the statement were the Clerks for Peoria, McLean, Logan, Knox, Mason, Woodford, Marshall, Stark, and Fulton Counties.

Of those, only Peoria, Logan and Marshall Counties received any money from the program between 2014 and 2016.

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Alex Gaul

Alex Gaul joined WEEK 25 News and Heart of Illinois ABC in January 2021 as a Multimedia Journalist. He formerly worked for KPNX-TV and KAET-TV, both in Phoenix, Arizona. The Illinois-native is an alum of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

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