Taxing bodies in and around Schaumburg Township
Monday called on the Cook County Board of Review to issue the second
installment of this year's property tax bills by the official deadline
of Aug. 1 instead of delaying until 2011.
Board of Review Chief Deputy Commissioner Scott Guetzow
said such late billing is inevitable due to delays in the system that
aren't caused by his office. It's been 32 years since the county got the
bills out on time, and the delays have been getting longer and longer.
Schaumburg Township Assessor John Lawson held a news
conference Monday morning in which he was joined by representatives of
several villages, libraries, park districts and school districts within
These representatives spoke about the problems local
governments will face from late payments of property taxes. Taxpayers
also will suffer, they said, because they won't be able to declare their
property tax payments on 2010 income tax forms if they aren't made
until early next year, which is considered likely.
"Everyone in Cook County is affected over and over and
over again by the lateness of these tax bills," Hoffman Estates Mayor
Bill McLeod said. "It affects everyone's bottom line."
Schaumburg Township District Library Trustee Robert
Frankel said that in the continuing poor economy, there are some taxing
bodies running out of sufficient reserves to pay their bills. They then
have to pay interest on tax anticipation warrants they use to meet bills
while waiting for their money to arrive from the county.
Most of those present agreed it was within the Board of
Review's power to take politics out of the process and meet the Aug. 1
billing deadline. They believe there's a built-in incentive to delay the
tax bills so that they come out after Election Day in November, which
should be overcome for the public good, they said.
"That's all we're asking," Lawson said. "Do what your
Eric Herman, spokesman for Cook County Assessor Jim
Houlihan's office, said the Board of Review is backpedaling from a
commitment it made to get through the appeal process within three
"We are committed to getting our work done by May 7,"
Herman said. "We have our people working overtime - literally."
But Guetzow said that even if the Cook County assessor
compiled all the appeals by May 7, they wouldn't be received by the
Board of Review until sometime in June due to procedural delays for such
things as official publication.
A large number of appeals are anticipated this year
because of the increasing disparity between assessed values and
perceived market values, Guetzow said, referring to the decline in
property values in recent years.
"The property tax is a good tax because it's not based
on ability to pay but the value of the property," Guetzow said. "But it
all starts with an accurate assessment," he said, suggesting that if the
assessor did a better job, there would be fewer appeals.
In addition to asking the Board of Review to issue bills
by Aug. 1, Lawson is also asking the U.S. Attorney to join the Cook
County State's Attorney in its investigation of the Board of Review's
procedures. He said he believes an independent agency should have a role
when one county department is investigating another.