Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  Cook County Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.
   
     
     
     



Some seniors to receive lower Cook County tax bills

Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Chicago Tribune
by John P. Huston

Nearly 7,000 seniors will get adjusted property tax bills this week because the Cook County assessor's office failed to give them an exemption they were due, mistakenly billing them hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars more than they owed.

The assessor's office said its computer system did not flag the mistake before the wrong bills were mailed. Township assessors say it is also because of a confusing and complex tax system — one made even more baffling because of declines in property values in recent years.

Exemptions and programs such as the "senior freeze" were designed to protect qualifying homeowners from rapidly rising tax bills as property values increased — which hasn't been happening during the real estate slump of recent years.

The program will not benefit recent applicants whose homes have declined in assessed value since applying for the freeze, said Niles Township Assessor Scott Bagnall. That's because there is no increased value to protect them from, he said.

But local governments still need to collect the same amount of taxes — or more. So the tax rate is adjusted, which can result in higher taxes for property owners, despite the declining market value of their homes, Bagnall explained.

Many seniors still could qualify for a significantly lower tax bill through the "longtime occupant" exemption, aimed at those who have lived in their home for more than 10 years and have a household income of less than $100,000 per year.

The assessor's office runs a calculation to make sure seniors are receiving the largest possible reduction on their bill, even if they didn't apply for the longtime occupant exemption, said spokeswoman Kelley Quinn.

This year, after the tax bills hit homeowners' mailboxes, the assessor's office discovered that 6,749 seniors who qualified were not given the longtime occupancy exemption and that their tax bills would be decreased by it, Quinn said.

"There was a small systems issue that didn't put it on the tax bill," Quinn said.

She could not quantify the difference between the original bills and the correct bills. But she has seen several revised tax bills that will result in payments that are $200 to $600 less than the bills that were originally sent out.

Nick Pavletic, Evanston Township deputy assessor, said it could be a difference of thousands of dollars for some property owners, depending on their circumstances. He calculated that one local woman was overtaxed by $1,933.46.

The 84-year-old woman, who asked not to be identified, said she was shocked by the bill she received in late June.

"I immediately kind of freaked out," she said.

Pavletic said there are many seniors who probably didn't realize a mistake had been made with their bill.

One of those is Bonnie Wilson, the Evanston Township assessor. She received a letter dated Thursday from the county assessor's office saying the longtime occupant exemption would save her the most money. It instructed her to ignore her original bill.

She is now urging seniors to "wait a few weeks before they pay their tax bill because they're not due until Aug. 1."

Those who have already paid will be reimbursed for the difference, Quinn said.

Ali ElSaffar, Oak Park Township assessor and president of the Cook County Township Assessors' Association, applauded the county for being proactive in addressing the issue.

"Every year there's something," ElSaffar said. "We have made our tax system so complicated that it's so easy to make mistakes. One thing we do every year is correct mistakes because it happens."



Recent Headlines

Preckwinkle, Evans end budget battle
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

How Transparent and Accountable Are Chicago, Cook County Governments?
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

2 Cook County courthouses to close, employees spared layoffs under budget settlement: officials
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Troubled detainee at center of unusual court fight between Loyola hospital, Cook County
Monday, July 16, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners Confounded by Hiring of Health System Consultant
Monday, July 16, 2018
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Doctor fired by Cook County medical examiner now under the microscope in Indiana
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

County officials defend Forest Preserves police in wake of man harassing woman over Puerto Rican flag shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Familiar questions about ‘bystander effect’ arise after man berates woman for Puerto Rico shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Berrios' analysts used Zillow, other shortcuts in assessing property values, documents show
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Northbrook to revisit Cook County paid sick leave policy after opting out last year
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Forest Preserves officials discuss officer's resignation
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Amid video fallout, Cook County Forest Preserve District reveals fatal crash involving worker and governmental truck
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Transformation in the outdoors
Friday, July 13, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Forest preserve cop resigns after apparently failing to help woman being harassed over Puerto Rico shirt
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

5 things: A civics lesson on Puerto Rico after man rants about woman's flag T-shirt, questions citizenship
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners: Get Rid of Forest Preserve Police
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Schneider wants hearing over fatal crash blamed on Cook forest preserve driver
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Daily Herald

Man who harassed woman for Puerto Rican flag shirt charged with hate crime
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WLS ABC 7 Chicago

EDITORIAL: A judge drops a gun on a courthouse floor. So much for respect for the law
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest preserve officer who didn't help woman in Puerto Rican flag shirt 'tarnished the whole department,' commissioner says
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP