Higher property assessments lead to long lines of angry residents
For a third consecutive day, workers at the Palatine Township offices were greeted Wednesday with long lines of residents upset about their new -- and in some cases, significantly higher -- property assessments.
Palatine resident Tom Sheeran said at one point in his several hours spent at the township office Monday there were at least 40 people in line waiting to file appeals. Sheeran said his home was assessed this year nearly $100,000 higher than in 2013.
"I didn't know I was that wealthy," he said.
Palatine Township residents are the most recent in Cook County to receive their new property assessments, which are issued every three years. Barrington Township assessments were mailed in March and other Northwest suburban townships are upcoming.
Palatine Township Supervisor Sharon Langlotz-Johnson said because the figure is frozen for three years between assessments, it makes increases that much more shocking.
"They're mad about their bills, mad about their taxes," Langlotz-Johnson said.
Township Assessor Terry Kelly said the average increase appears to be around 20 percent, which is in line with previous hikes.
How much the increase affects residents' property tax bills depends on how much money each local taxing body asks for each year. But Kelly said if the property's assessed value is going up, residents should appeal because that is the first number used to calculate property taxes.
Kelly said one man he helped this week saw his assessment increase 61 percent.
"I totally get it, I would be frustrated as heck," Kelly said of the long lines outside his office. "That's why you have a chance to appeal."
Langlotz-Johnson said she appeals every time, but she does it online at cookcountyassessor.com/appeals.
For residents who want to file an appeal in person, the township office is open every day except Sunday. Its hours are 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday. As long as you are in line when they close for the day, you will be helped.
"We expect the line, we try to put out coffee, have the guest (Wi-Fi) code people can use to get on the Internet," Langlotz-Johnson said. "We do our best to try to keep people happy while in line."
To avoid the longest lines, Langlotz-Johnson recommends people come in before the May 9 deadline to appeal. Three years ago the lines were about three hours long on the last day.
According to the Cook County assessor's office website, the estimated mailing dates for assessments will be May 5 for Elk Grove Township; May 26 for Maine Township; June 15 for Leyden Township; July 8 for Wheeling Township; Aug. 16 for Schaumburg Township; and Sept. 9 for Hanover Township.