To the Editor:
Streamlining the outdated Illinois township property tax system is long overdue. The time is ripe for administrative reform.
To solve the township administrative assessment problem, a nonelected professional office of assessor should be created in each county. The office of the township assessor would be eliminated, and each county would be responsible for the valuation process for its territory. The provisions for certification, or recertification, of the county assessor would be provided on a professional basis.
We now have a greater than ever capacity to appraise property and to evaluate the results of the process, thanks to computer-assisted methodologies. Computerization also gives the taxpayer much easier access to information. These new methodologies will require assessors to be board certified appraisers using national standards for assessments.
The assessment function should be centralized at the county level, and the office of assessor should be appointed rather than an elective position – as is the case now. To the township charge that centralization will violate the township cherished principals of local control, the answer is that centralizing the purely administrative act of property assessments removes the grounds for the criticisms of the property tax, which is the lack of fairness and uniformity of township assessments.
Each year, thousands of homes and businesses in McHenry County are overassessed by thousands of dollars, resulting in higher tax bills.
In short, the township assessor should be abolished and replaced by an appointed professional, who could easily be removed if assessments were not fair or uniform.