The results of the primary are in and Joe Berrios, the current Cook County Assessor and Chair the Cook County Democratic Party, is out as the next Assessor. This is a big deal in a county that has been controlled by "The Machine" for so long. What does this mean for the residents and property owners in Cook County? Read on to find out:
1. It means nothing for now...
Why you may ask? There are a couple of reasons. The major reason is that it is expected that one of the candidates, Andrea Raila, will challenge the results. In a stunning admission, Chicago election officials admitted that they erred by sending out a message stating that votes for Raila would not count.
The second reason is that this election was only the primary. Joe Berrios will still fulfill the remainder of his term as the Cook County Assessor. Once the next Assessor takes office, they will begin to implement their processes but that will not be until the end of this year. If the new assessor immediately enacts major changes, we will not see the effects of any changes on our assessments until the year after the changes are made. And then we have at least another six months before the tax bills are released. So don't hold your breath waiting for change in the assessor's office as it looks like we still have at least a couple more years before we will see any effect from this election on our pocketbooks.
2. It will hopefully lead to a more open and transparent system.
The Chicago Tribune series, The Property Tax Divide, touched on the fact that normal and customary assessment practices seemed to be absent in the current Cook County Assessor's Office. Sales Ratio Studies are key to making sure that assessments are accurate and it does not appear one has been done in Cook County in quite a while. If the proper procedures are followed with a new assessor, more accurate assessments will surely result. High priced properties will probably see their assessments increase, while lowered value properties may see a dramatic drop in their assessments to fall more in line with the actual market value of the property. We also hope that the public data the assessor uses is available at no charge to the public (as Lake County, Illinois has done for years) instead of charging thousands of dollars a year to access it as Cook County currently does.
3. It should help ALL Cook County homeowners.
While news of major assessment reductions for some well known politicians has been made public, that is not where the real problem is. While a million dollar reduction on a single family residential home may seem large, it is small potatoes compared to the reductions the major commercial properties receive in Cook County. When a commercial property is under assessed by millions upon millions of dollars, guess who is stuck picking up the tab...the homeowners of Cook County! When (or if) the huge commercial properties in Cook County are fairly assessed, it is almost guaranteed that the residents of Cook County should see a drop in their property tax bills if the spending can be reigned in too.
Overall, this news should be welcomed to the resident's of Cook County no matter which side of the aisle you sit on. All of us at Property Tax Solutions look forward to working with you now and in the future.
Greg Hilton, an attorney and CPA, is the owner of Property Tax Solutions. Greg has filed more single-family property tax appeals than ANYONE in Cook County over the past five years. Let us help you too...click here to sign up for an appeal today all at no up-front cost to you. You only pay if we save you money! It is our guarantee to you! Click here for more information about our services.