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Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
Tax changes spark spike in appeals from residents
Thursday, June 17, 2010 Pioneer Press by Karen Berkowitz
suburban homeowners are appealing the higher "market values" that
were placed on their homes when Cook County changed its assessment system,
arguing the values couldn't have jumped so dramatically during a market
More than 4,698
appeals were filed with the Board of Review from Niles Township, for example,
up 202 percent from three years ago. Those appeals represented more than 9,521
parcels. Maine Township recorded 4,508 appeals, up 169 percent from three years
ago, on 11,439 parcels.
are contributing to an avalanche of tax appeals in a year when a full-blown
reassessment in the city of Chicago also is sparking a high volume of appeals.
Until the books
are closed on the appeals, other steps of the tax-cycle cannot begin.
County officials have been warning of a possible four-month delay in mailing
the second installment property tax bills, which may not be due until Jan. 1,
2011 or later.
suburban school officials say they'll need to take out short-term loans this
fall if those predictions come to pass.
suburban homeowners received notice of assessment reductions ranging from 4 to
15 percent in the first-ever downward adjustment spurred by declining values.
But while assessments dropped, the assessor racheted up the "market
value" on the home to create a 10-percent ratio between the assessment and
market value, as required under a new county ordinance. In a normal year of
appreciating home values, the changes might have gone unnoticed because the
10-percent ratio had long been the assessor's practice.
sales prices tumbling on homes and condominiums as the result of foreclosures
and short sales, tax attorneys and homeowners have had an easier time proving
the new market values are too high.
artificial increases in fair market value across the county are unquestionably
driving the volume (of appeals)," said Scott Guetzow, chief deputy
commissioner of the Board of Review, noting appeals have been "through the
roof" in townships that ordinarily wouldn't generate many in an off-year.
He said that in
many cases, the market values assigned by the Cook County Assessor using a
simple math formula have been higher than what homes have actually sold for in
the depressed real estate market.
have worked in a lot of years, but this year, it overshot the market on a lot
of houses," said Guetzow.
While the Board
of Review typically takes on appeals one township at a time, the board is
simultaneously accepting and considering appeals for 11 suburban and four city
townships this month to hasten the process. The board says the unfinished
townships usually account for the majority of the board's work.
assessment ratios, known as the 10/25 ordinance, simplified the tax system,
reducing 22 classes of property down to just two: Residential and commercial.
Residential property is now assessed at 10 percent of market, and commercial property
at 25 percent.