Oak Park assessments up by median 23.5%

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Roughly 11,300 single-family homeowners and 5,600 condominium owners in Oak Park Township have received tax reassessment notices from Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, showing that assessments are up a median 23.35 percent, according to a press release. 

Oak Park Township Assessor Ali Elsaffar has penned a good explanation of how the increased assessment works in the village and what it means for Oak Park Taxpayers in this week's Wednesday Journal Homes section, on page B12.

Berrios says in the press release that taxpayers who want to appeal their assessment "should do it now and not wait until the following year when the new tax year 2017 values are shown on second-installment tax bills mailed in 2a018." 

The deadline for appeals is April 3.

Highlights from Berrios' announcement show:

An improving real estate market in Oak Park.

The median sale price of a single-family home and other non-condominium residential properties jumped to $409,910 in 2016, compared to $339,000 in 2014.

Proposed assessments of condominiums reflect a median increase of 25.2 percent.

— Timothy Inklebarger

Email: tim@oakpark.com

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Bruce Kline  

Posted: March 15th, 2017 6:56 PM

But here is what everyone of you is missing. And its right in front of our noses. Mr. Kahn touched on it when he pointed out how our representatives take us for fools. The assessments usually all go up - but never ever equally. Why do you think there is a thriving legal industry in Cook County whose main source of income is "fighting unjust unequal assessments?" Do you really think this happened by chance? What a scam.

Todd Kahn from Oak Park  

Posted: March 15th, 2017 5:16 PM

@Josh - Thank you for that logical explanation. Remember years ago when the cook county assessor said he felt homeowners pain, and thus assessments were being lowered across the board? That does nothing...it's a politician ingratiating himself to an uneducated public. All that matters is your assessment relative to the rest of the town. If everyone goes up 20% and the levy is constant, your taxes wouldn't change by a dollar.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: March 12th, 2017 11:15 PM

Yes that's right Kevin: "when bonds are paid off, your taxes are scheduled to automatically go down." This is something D97 has kept quiet and let fly "below the radar.". They claim their CAPEX is budget neutral. But it isn't. Because it is just a continuation of the soon to be paid off bonds for the two middle schools. If it wasn't for the CAPEX our taxes would go DOWN $260 per $10 000 in property tax once those bonds were paid off (in 2018 or so). So basically the D97 ask is really $1000 per $10 000 in property tax increase. The relevance to your comment? All this stuff really is confusing; and our taxing bodies do their best to strategically use the confusion and obfuscation to their advantage, as my example shows.

Kevin Peppard from Oak Park  

Posted: March 12th, 2017 5:32 PM

@Josh: The basics of what you say are true, and Ali Elsaffar stated that in more complex form recently in this paper, When you say the "levy is the levy", people should know that at least two thirds of that is tax-capped, and allowed to grow only at the rate of change of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), with a lag, Tax Caps stopped "balloon levying", which schools routinely did after reassessments, when they were implemented in the mid-90s. Other bodies, such as the Village of Oak Park (as a Home Rule municipality), and the County, are not capped, , but whatever they levy has nothing to do with the reassessment anyway. The only effect of the reassessment on the taxes due to non-local bodies is that Oak Park, as part of the Southern Assessment Triad, now owes a bigger share of those taxes, since values went up. Net year, that will begin to reverse out, when Chicago will be reassessed, and it will reverse out some more when the Northern Triad is reassessed after that, so it's basically a wash over time.. Tax Capped bodies can exceed growth in the CPI, if they had new construction in the Village to tax, or had Tax Increment Financing (TIF) assets become available, but then those are self-financing. They also can raise taxes, under controlled circumstances, if they had recently reduced taxes, temporarily, and want to go back to where they were (think of OPRFHS). Bonds are another matter. When bonds are paid off, your taxes are scheduled to automatically go down. Many bonds require referendum approval, but not all. Life Safety Bonds do not require a referendum, if approved as valid by the State Board of Education. Debt Service Extension Base Bonds do not require a referendum, but are subject to a Backdoor Referendum with a petition drive, which is what Monica Sheehan did successfully (I was part of that). But basically,. what changes one's taxes dramatically is the APPROVAL OF REFERENDA, for operating expenses.and bonds. The rest is random, based on your new share

Josh Vanderberg  

Posted: March 12th, 2017 4:06 PM

It seems like nobody really understands the way property taxes are calculated here. If everybody's assessment goes up the same percentage, nobody's taxes change - at all. The assessments are only used to determine your fraction of the tax levy. Loosely, if you own 1/10000th of the housing value in Oak Park, you pay 1/10000th of the levy. The levy is the levy, and changes independently of the assessment. If your assessment goes up at a greater rate than the average, then you will end up paying a higher amount. If your assessment does not rise as fast as the average, you will end up paying a lower property tax.

Jennifer Malloy Quinlan  

Posted: March 10th, 2017 10:23 AM

Larry, your taxes did not go down? That's odd. Mine did. Mine go up and down every year. It's easy to find this information online.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: March 9th, 2017 3:40 PM

What it means to Oak Park Taxpayers is that now more than ever we need to vote NO for any and all assessments. The taxing bodies will then be forced to finally start looking for ways to control costs, which they will never ever do otherwise. Its been way too easy in Oak Park for the public sector to dream up new pet projects and extra staff positions and lavish raises.

Jacek Lazarczyk  

Posted: March 9th, 2017 1:07 PM

@Larry, it does not seem funny at all. The amounts the taxing bodies collect are not tied to the market fluctuations. Would you expect the village to lay off 50% of the police, firefighters, and other personnel because the overall valuations tanked? Your valuation only determines what is your share in comparison to your neighbors. If you successfully appeal your valuation and your tax bill goes down, someone's tax bill will have to go up.

Larry Skiver  

Posted: March 9th, 2017 11:02 AM

It seems funny when the housing market tanked a few years ago, my taxes did not go down. Why is that? Lets see, The village, township, county, state, federal, school districts 97 & 200, did I miss any one? Money Money Money take take take.. Then people are in debt up to their necks because of taxes.

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