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Assessment appeal ticking for several townships

Deadlines looming for Grafton, Seneca and Hartland townships

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Assessments for about half of McHenry County’s townships will have been published by month’s end.

Residents of Grafton, Hartland and Seneca townships received their assessments in recent weeks, meaning they have until early August to appeal if they so choose.

Appeal deadlines already have passed for Richmond and Greenwood townships, which published in early June. And property owners in three more townships – McHenry, Dunham and Alden – should be getting their assessments later this month, county Supervisor of Assessments Robert Ross said.

Township assessors have moved up their timetables for publishing the assessments by which property taxes are calculated, citing skyrocketing appeals by property owners frustrated that taxes are increasing despite the fact that values have decreased.

It was not until late July that the first townships published last year for this year’s tax bills. And Grafton last year did not publish until November and was the last of the county’s 17 townships to do so.

Property owners have 30 days from when their township’s assessments are published in a newspaper of record to appeal. Residents of Seneca and Hartland townships have until Aug. 2, and Grafton Township residents have until Aug. 5.

McHenry County last year fielded almost 10,000 assessment appeals for this year’s tax bills. Property owners have broken consecutive records as property-tax bills have stayed the same or increased despite the fact that home values have plummeted.

Assessment appeals are heard by a board of review, which determines whether an assessment should be lowered. Tax bills cannot be mailed out until every appeal is settled and all parcels in the county have their assessments set.

Last year, the two largest townships by population, Algonquin and Grafton, were the last to publish and did so at the end of October and mid-November, creating a last-minute deluge – the two townships make up almost half of the appeals received in any given year.

A new state law that took effect this year gives county assessors a stick to move things along if needed. Should a township assessor miss the Oct. 15 deadline to turn in the assessments, the county assessor now has the option to seize the books and finish the job.

The tax cap, which was meant to help taxpayers by keeping taxing bodies to an inflationary rate of increase, hurts taxpayers when property values decline. When values decline, a possibility that state lawmakers never considered, the cap ensures that governments can receive the inflationary increase if they so choose. While some governments have spurned the increase, many others have made sure to take it. The rate of inflation that taxing bodies will be able to use for next year’s bills is 1.7 percent.

Grafton Township is heavily populated and includes much of Huntley and Lakewood and parts of Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills and Algonquin. Hartland and Seneca townships are rural but include parts of Woodstock and Marengo.

Tax appeal deadlines

Deadlines are approaching for property owners in several McHenry County townships to appeal their assessments.

• Residents of Seneca and Hartland townships have until Aug. 2.

• Grafton Township residents have until Aug. 5.

Assessments are expected to be published later this month for McHenry, Dunham and Alden townships. Property owners have 30 days from the publication date to file an appeal.

The deadlines for property owners in Richmond and Greenwood townships have passed.

On the Net

Visit co.mchenry.il.us/departments/assessments/Pages/UnderstandingAssessments.aspx for information on the property-tax process, as well as information on how to appeal an assessment.

Source: McHenry County Office of Assessments

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