March 5, 2008

Daley's Request for a Tax Assessment Appeal Period for City Is Approved

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334.

The Cook County Board of Review today acted on a request by Mayor Richard M. Daley to give every property owner in Chicago – both residential and business -- who believes the assessed value of their property has fallen the opportunity to appeal their 2006 assessment for the 2007 tax year.

In a news conference held at Garfield Park Field House, 100 N. Central Park Av., the Mayor said he had provided Board of Review Commissioners Joseph Berrios, Larry Rogers and Brendan Houlihan with data showing that residential property in Chicago may have decreased in value for assessment purposes today compared with two years ago when property in Chicago was last assessed.

“For years I’ve argued that Cook County’s property tax system is broken and puts property owners who are struggling to make ends meet – both in good economic times and bad – at a disadvantage,” Daley said.

“That’s why, in these tough economic times and even with the steps we taking, I believe our leaders in Cook County can be even more aggressive when it comes to protecting struggling homeowners and businesses.

“So my staff worked with the Board of Review and its staff to determine whether the Board can be part of the solution for our hard pressed home and business owners soon, not some time down the road.” the Mayor said.

The window of opportunity for property owners to file their assessments through the Cook County Assessor’s Office has expired in the city for the 2007 tax year.

“Obviously, as the nation’s economy has slowed and the foreclosure crisis has grown, property values have gone down for many people,” Daley said.

For example, the data he gave the Board, provided by the Chicago Association of Realtors, show that in the last two years the sale price of single family homes in the Englewood community have decreased by 13 per cent and in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood by 6 per cent.

During the same time period, the sale price of multi-unit dwellings in West Garfield Park decreased by 13 per cent, in Portage Park by 6 per cent and in Brighton Park by 6 percent.

“We’re gratified that the Board is taking this important first step and granting a special assessment appeals period for property owners,” Daley said.

“Because the Board of Review has agreed to our request, we’ll notify property owners soon about the steps they need to take to appeal their assessment,” he said.

The request for the special appeals period is another in a series of proposals Daley has put forward in the last several weeks to reform and make Cook County’s system of property tax assessments fair and more predictable for property owners.

Last week, he named a group of leading Chicagoans to advise him on the overall issue of property tax assessments and make recommendations for long term reform of Cook County’s assessment system. It is led by Andrew Mooney, Executive Director of the Local Initiative Support Corporation and Theodore Swain of Gould and Ratner.

He has asked that the panel identify the components of establishing an annual assessment factor for Cook County – for homes and businesses alike -- and to suggest ways to protect the city’s renters from the trickle-down effects of higher assessments.

Daley today again called on the Illinois General Assembly to amend the 7 per cent property tax cap legislation that it extended last year. The cap has provided relief for homeowners for the last four years.

“Reforming the assessment system is a complex challenge and as we move forward there will be many groups opposing us. But, we have to try,” Daley concluded.