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posted: 7/15/2014 5:01 AM

Board of review cooperates for success

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Cook County homeowners have received their second installment property tax bill for 2013. While most folks don't enjoy receiving their bill, there is good news this time. After more than 30 years of late billing, for the third year in a row, the bills have gone out on time.

The Board of Review has worked in a nonpartisan way to end late billing. With help from other offices, we are doing so -- to the benefit of all taxpayers.

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The 2013 property tax appeal sessions, in which property owners exercise their right to ask the Board of Review to check their taxes for fairness, saw over 402,000 requests, the third-highest number in board history. We took that amount in stride, thanks to comprehensive modernization. In fact, we finished a week ahead of schedule, enabling the on-time billing.

Property owners now know when to expect their tax bills. That helps them budget. Also, their local units of government, from school boards to villages, and many others, will receive their property tax proceeds from the county on time. That saves the local governments and, ultimately, the taxpayers themselves, high costs of borrowing to fill budget gaps left by late payments due to late billings.

None of this happened by accident. Respectful working relationships with the assessor, treasurer and county clerk are key.

The board made its own commitment to improving the status quo. We embraced technology and promoted a culture that supports change. Establishing a first ethics manual for the board helped morale and instilled professional pride.

Also, this year will mark the fourth consecutive Board of Review Annual Report. It's available at www.cookcountyboardofreview.com.

Democrats and Republicans can actually work together to make effective and efficient government. The Cook County Board of Review makes it happen every day.

Dan Patlak

Commissioner

Cook County Board of Review

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