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Chaldean in Oak Park Michigan Offended by Tax Increase Reasons
By Sam Yousif :: Monday, June 2, 2008 :: 22965 Views :: Government & Society

Michigan, USA - Chaldeans in Oak Park, Michigan are perplexed over plans by Oak Park Mayor to ask its residents to approve a tax hike.  The mayor says the money is needed to keep two public safety officers on the payroll and buy patrol cars in the wake of budget cuts.

Mayor Gerald Naftaly says the city had to cut $900,000 from its 2008-09 budget because of declining revenues.  A decline that many say has been caused because of the city’s inability to keep property values from plummeting.  “I don’t understand why Mayor Naftaly has to cut police.  There are other ways to save money for the city,”  Oak Park resident,
Imad Kuza says

To balance the budget, city management suggested cutting six positions, including two officers.  “I am personally offended by the scare tactics Naftaly is using.  Just be honest and quit being a politician.  We are a small town and can take the truth.”

Naftaly has been reported as saying that fewer officers could mean compromised service.  Quoted in the local paper for the area Naftaly said, "With fewer people, you've got to expect that response time might be slower," he said. "Our citizens expect a high level of service."

Kuza is also upset over the effort to put the two proposals on the August ballot.  Voters are to be given two proposal options to override the Headlee Amendment, which limits property tax increases to the inflation rate.

“They are pulling a fast one.  They are not telling residents where the money is going to go, they are not holding town hall meetings, or anything to help residents understand why there are no other options,” Kuza added. 

The first proposal gives the city the right to charge $200 for a home valued at $200,000 per year for ten years.  The second proposal allows the city to charge $200 every year for ten years and then $400 every year for another ten years.  Chaldean residents can expect to pay an additional $2,000 under the first proposal and $6,000 under the second. 

The city’s current tax rate is $24 per $1,000 of property value. 

“A majority of Chaldeans in Oak Park are against the tax increase.  The city needs to find better ways to manage their money and threatening to cut police is not an option.  They can do better.  If they can not, we should find a new mayor and city council that can,” Kuza determinedly says. 

"Chaldeans have to get out and vote no in August or they will end up paying $6,000."

Sacred Heart Parish, MI USA


Sacred Heart Parish
310 W. Seven Mile. Rd.
Detroit, MI 48203
Tel: (313) 368-6214
Fax: (313) 891-0132

The parish was established by Rev. Jacob Yasso in 1973

Rev. Jacob Yasso

Rev. Jacob Yasso was born in the village of Telkaif, Iraq.  After completing high school he was recruited to Rome and Urbaniana University where he completed his Masters Degree in philosophy and Theology.  Fr. Yasso was ordained a priest in 1960 and served the Diocese of Mosul, where he worked in the public school system. Fr. Yasso was also asked by the Patriarch to teach at the Patriarchal Seminary in Baghdad, where he served as administrator, professor of philosophy and religious life, and rector of the minor seminary. 

In 1964, Fr. Yasso was appointed to the United States to serve the growing Chaldean community in Detroit.  There he served as the 4th Pastor of Mother of God Parish.  .  In 1972, the Patriarch charged Fr. Yasso with building a new parish for the Chaldeans in Detroit.  In taking great pains to care for the community Fr. Yasso accelerated the development of a new church and community center.  In 1975, Fr. Yasso completed the development of Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit and shortly thereafter he added the Chaldean Center of America in 1980, 

A few years later in 1982, Fr. Yasso was asked to assist the late Fr. Kattoula at St. Peter’s Church in San Diego, CA.  Before long, Fr. Yasso was once again recruited to Rome to study new Canon Law of the Church.  While in Rome Fr. Yasso completed his third Masters Degree in Church Law, making him the only Chaldean priest trained in Canon Law. 

In 1988, the Patriarch and Vatican authorities asked Fr. Yasso to travel to Canada and establish a parish and community center.  While there he served as a Tribunal Judge for the Archdiocese of Toronto.  Four years later Fr. Yasso returned to Sacred Heart church in Detroit to help care for the remaining Chaldean community residence in the Detroit area.  To this day, Fr. Yasso continues to serve as the parish pastor creating activities and advising the City of Detroit on community related matters. 

Fr. Yasso is a member of the International WYCLIF Bible translators, since 1975, and has completed the translation of the New Testament from Greek and Aramaic into Arabic and spoken Chaldean.   The publication of his scholarly work is set to be released soon.