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Skyrocketing Assessments Are Hitting Property Owners Hard: People Are Pushing for Change

By Gary Smith
Skyrocketing Assessments Are Hitting Property Owners Hard: People Are Pushing for Change

Skyrocketing assessments are hitting property owners hard in Cook County this year and people are pushing for change. Cook County is divided into three sections for property tax purposes, and home values are reassessed on a triennial system within those three sections. This year, approximately 600,000 properties in the city of Chicago received property reassessments with some seeing their costs increase by as much as 76 percent.

Homeowners Get Hit Twice as Hard with Taxes

Homeowners historically have been unhappy with the property tax process in Cook County, but this year, it seems that homes values have gone up an egregious amount, with some increasing by as much as 76 percent. Lake View Township and Rogers Park are two areas that have already received their property reassessments.

In Lake View Township, the median assessment rose 31 percent for houses, townhouses and rental buildings with six units or less. For condos, the median increase was a little under 29 percent.

Rogers Park also saw assessments rise, though not as much: 18.2 percent for houses and 20 percent for condos.

Assessments are an estimate of the taxable value of a property, and in Cook County, it’s 10 percent of market value. That value then gets multiplied by the tax rate to arrive at the property tax bill. The Cook County Assessors office contends that the assessments are higher because of rising home values. The assessor’s estimates are based on the prior three years of market activity for each neighborhood.

This is the first assessment done using a new model developed in partnership with the Chicago-based Civic Consulting Alliance and Tyler Technologies, a firm based in Park Ridge, after a Chicago Tribune/Political series criticized the previous methodology. This new method, which is supposed to be more accurate, when combined with the fact that assessments last happened for these homes three years ago, is part of what is adding to the sticker shock.

Property owners are pushing back, however, and saying that these property assessments need to take place yearly, for smaller increases that are more manageable.

This year’s increase hits homeowners especially hard because of changes in the federal tax code, which caps a homeowner’s ability to deduct local property taxes.

Property owners have the opportunity to appeal their new assessments to the Cook County Assessor’s Office. If it’s denied, they can appeal to the Cook County Board of Review.