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Cook County property tax bills will be timely

Friday, July 21, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times
by ABDON M. PALLASCH AND ART GOLAB

The tax bills are coming.
For the first time since 1993, Cook County property owners will get real estate tax bills the week of July 31. They will be due Sept. 1. Last year, they went out in September and were due Nov. 1.
Over the years, the mailing has slipped back as government offices took too long assessing and hearing appeals.
This year, Assessor Jim Houlihan's office finished the assessments in February instead of April. The Cook County Board of Review finished hearing appeals in May instead of August. Cook County David Orr's office released the tax rates Thursday, and Treasurer Maria Pappas' office has 500,000 of the 1.7 million bills that have to go out printed up.
"Everybody pulled it together, the Board of Review, the assessor. Everyone was a good little beaver and got it out quicker," Pappas said.
Part of the reason is that the south and west suburbs were the ones whose assessments went up last, and they traditionally file the fewest appeals. The assessor and the Board of Review are bracing for a mother lode of appeals as Chicago residents get their staggering reassessments this year.
Property owners in the south and west suburbs can expect the biggest tax hikes, but a state law aims to keep assessments from jumping more than 7 percent a year.
Slightly more than half of the tax bill for Chicago residents goes to the Chicago Public Schools, which this year raised taxes 3.4 percent, the maximum allowed under the law. About 20 percent goes to the City of Chicago, 9 percent to Cook County and 7.4 percent to the Chicago Park District.
Homeowners' share of the tax bite increases as the city expands "tax increment financing" districts downtown that divert tax money from schools to downtown development.
Suburban property owners in districts that passed referendums to raise taxes for new schools will see the biggest increases.


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