DuPage property tax bills in the mail, up 2.5 percent

Updated 4/30/2012 2:06 PM

DuPage County's tax bills are in the mail, and property owners can expect to see an average increase of 2.53 percent when they arrive.

County Treasurer Gwen Henry said the higher tax bills comes despite the total assessed value of property in DuPage dropping for the second straight year. In 2011, the value of land dropped by 6.6 percent.

It's a situation that Henry predicts will frustrate many property owners.

"They are always hoping that a drop in assessed value will mean a decrease in taxes," Henry said on Monday. "But the average tax rate increased 9.13 percent."

Henry was referring to the average tax rate for 2011 climbing to $6.89 cents per each $100 of assessed value.

The county clerk calculates the taxes based on a set of formulas established by state law. How much money is sought by taxing districts determines the amount of taxes every property owner pays. The total tax requested by all of DuPage's taxing bodies for the 2011 tax year was nearly $2.5 billion, officials said.

"Simply stated, the total amount of funds requested by the taxing bodies has not decreased," Henry said. "Therefore, property taxes will not decrease."

Henry said she is expecting her office to get inundated with phone calls when the tax bills start arriving in mailboxes this week. More than 334,000 tax bills were sent out on Monday.

Employees in the treasurer's office will explain to callers how the tax bills and assessed values are calculated.

The township assessors determine the assessed value of properties by based on property sales that took place from January 2008 through December 2010. With this mandated 3-year average, the assessed values don't decrease as rapidly as actual property values, officials said.

Henry said every property owner will receive a guide containing answers to frequently asked questions about the tax bills. It also offers information about how to pay the bills.

Property taxes are due in two equal installments. The first is due June 1 and the second by Sept. 4.

Henry encourages everyone, especially seniors, to carefully check their bill to ensure they are receiving all appropriate exemptions.

"There's still a surprising number of seniors who have never applied for their senior exemption," Henry said. "It isn't something that comes automatically."

DuPage property owners with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact the treasurer's office at (630) 4075900. Help also is available online at treasurer.dupageco.org.

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