The last two McHenry County townships are poised in the coming weeks to publish their assessments, starting the 30-day window in which property owners can appeal them.
Algonquin Township, the county’s most populous, will publish next Wednesday, County Supervisor of Assessments Robert Ross said. And the last of the county’s 17 townships to publish, Burton Township, will do so the first week in October.
The latest township to publish, Marengo Township, did so Sept. 11, giving landowners until Oct. 11 to file an appeal. Property owners in Chemung and Riley townships have until Monday to appeal if they so choose, and Nunda Township residents have until end of business Wednesday. The opportunity to appeal for all other townships has passed.
The record number of appeals that Ross’ office has received in recent years prompted him to ask township assessors to push up their timetables. Last year, the first townships didn’t publish until late July, and the two largest by population, Algonquin and Grafton, didn’t publish until the end of October and mid-November, resulting in a last-minute deluge for the Board of Review to handle.
Assessments for Richmond Township, typically the first to be finished, published the first week of June, instead of late July as in previous years. And Grafton, which last year was the last to publish, was among the first this year.
“I probably couldn’t have asked for anything better. We’re still spread out, but we started earlier,” Ross said.
The county last year fielded almost 10,000 assessment appeals for this year’s tax bills. By comparison, a decade ago the county received only 677 appeals.
Had township assessors taken too long, a new state law would give Ross and other county assessors a stick to move things along. Should a township assessor miss the deadline, which for McHenry County is Oct. 15, Ross would have had the option to seize the assessment book and finish the job.
Homeowners have 30 days from the date of publication to appeal their assessments, each of which is heard by a board of review. Tax bills cannot be mailed out until every hearing is finished and all parcels in the county have their assessments set.
Assessments, or one-third of a property’s value, determine a property owner’s share of taxing districts’ extensions for property-tax bills due the next year.
The main culprit for tax bills rising while property values fall is the tax cap law enacted more than 20 years ago to protect homeowners in the Chicago suburbs from out-of-control property-tax increases.
The law limits the increase that taxing bodies can receive over the previous year to either 5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. But when home values are in decline, the tax cap ensures that governments receive the inflationary rate of increase if they so choose.
While several governments have kept their levies flat, others raised their tax rates to ensure that they captured the inflationary increase.
The rate of inflation taxing bodies will be able to use for next year’s bills is 1.7 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Revenue.
Tax appeal deadlines
Deadlines are approaching for property owners in several McHenry County townships to appeal their assessments.
• Property owners in Chemung and Riley townships have until Monday.
• Nunda Township property owners have until Wednesday.
• Marengo Township property owners have until Oct. 11.
Assessments for Algonquin and Burton townships are expected to be published next week and early October, respectively.
The deadlines for all other McHenry County townships have passed.
On the Net
Visit http://co.mchenry.il.us/departments/assessments for information on the property-tax process and how to appeal an assessment.
Source: McHenry County Office of Assessments