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About that assessment list in today's paper

Opinion: Letters to the editor

July 25th, 2017 2:47 PM

This issue of the Forest Park, distributed in Proviso Township, contains a supplement of the Real Estate Assessment List for Proviso Township. This list is prepared by the Cook County Assessor's Office (CCAO), under the direction of Assessor Joseph Berrios. 

The assessor does not set tax rates, levies or the state of Illinois Equalizer, nor does he decide the dollar amount of your tax bill. Tax rates and levies are determined by municipalities and other local taxing bodies such as school districts. The assessor's only job is to determine the estimated market value of your property, based on an analysis of sales of comparable properties in your neighborhood and area. That analysis is done every three years (triennially). 

"Assessed value" (AV) is the portion of market value to which the State Equalizer and local tax rates are applied. Under state and county law, AV for residential property is 10 percent of market value and AV for industrial/commercial property is 25 percent of market value. Thus, business properties in any area ease the tax burden on residential properties there. Naturally, homeowners in townships which have fewer business properties don't benefit as much as those who live where there is more of an industrial/commercial base. 

When local needs for tax rates and levies are decided, that data is given to the Cook County Clerk, who works with the Cook County Treasurer to compute all tax bills. The assessor plays no role in that computation process either. Again, he determines only the estimated market value of property and steps aside once that value and corresponding AV have been presented to the county. Bills are issued and payments are received by the Illinois Treasurer.

The list in this edition is arranged by street names and house numbers and provides the assessed values for all properties in the township. Assessor Berrios stresses the importance of this listing as it allows property owners to compare their AVs to those of similar properties in their neighborhoods.

 "My office works to properly value every property and efficiently administer tax-saving exemptions for homeowners," Berrios said. "My primary concerns as assessor continue to be the fair and equitable assessment of all properties to ensure each property owner only pays his or her fair share of property taxes and the on-time completion of the assessment cycle. 

The record of Berrios' office shows on-time completion of assessments for the past seven consecutive years. Under previous assessors, the assessment cycle was late for 34 consecutive years. Late completion had routinely cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in interest charges because their schools and other entities were forced to borrow heavily while waiting for property tax revenue. 

Reassessment notices were recently mailed to Proviso Township taxpayers. Assessor Berrios recently redesigned the notices to include detailed information about the properties, which aids taxpayers in better understanding their assessments.

"The reassessment notices now provide taxpayers with all tools necessary to determine if their assessments are accurate and fair," Berrios said. "We continue to work to make the process easy and transparent. Most important, if taxpayers wish to appeal their reassessment values, they should do it now and not wait until next year when these new values affect tax bills."

Property owners who require additional assistance may call CCAO at 312-443-7550 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit any CCAO location:

Chicago office: 118 N. Clark St., Room 320, Chicago 60602, 312-443-7550

Skokie office: 5600 Old Orchard Road, Room 149, Skokie 60007 847-470-7237

Bridgeview office: 10200 S. 76th Ave., Room 237, Bridgeview 60455 708-974-6451

Markham office: 16501 S. Kedzie Ave., Room 237, Markham 60426 708-232-4100

Detailed assessment and exemption information may also be found by visiting the assessor's website, www.cookcountyassessor.com.

Cook County Assessor's Office