County to lower home assessments
Monday, May 11, 2009
Crain's Chicago Business
by Lorene Yue
(Crain’s) — Residents in some suburban Cook County
townships will see a reduction in the assessed value of their homes as
the tax system catches up with the real estate downturn.
But because tax bills are paid in arrears, it won’t be known if homeowners will see any benefit until next year.
A lower assessed value doesn’t guarantee lower property tax bills,
since levies can still rise, said Laurence Msall, president of the
Civic Federation, a tax policy group.
Homes in 30 suburban townships will have their assessed values lowered by 4% to 15%, Cook County
Assessor Jim Houlihan announced Monday. The reduction is being made to
accommodate market changes at a time when suburban areas are not up for
reassessment, which happens every three years.
“After careful analysis of market sales and foreclosure data,
we determined those townships should not have to wait until their next
reassessment for the impact to be reflected,” Mr. Houlihan said in a
River Forest Township will receive a 5% reduction, while Cicero Township gets a 15% reduction.
“Areas hit hard by foreclosures and market drops will see the biggest
reductions,” he said in the statement. “The percentage reductions will
change if the conditions warrant it.”
Mr. Msall said he was pleased that Mr. Houlihan recognizes the “distinct disadvantage that Cook County
residents have with a triennial assessment” given the recent economic
downturn, but he called the suburban reassessment a “very blunt tool.”
“We would much prefer comprehensive property tax reform in Cook County,” Mr. Msall said.
The assessors office has begun reassessing Chicago residences this
year, and Mr. Houlihan said some homes in the city may receive lower