6 Cook County commercial property tax bills rise by $1 million or more

  • The owners of the Continental Towers in Rolling Meadows saw one of the largest single-year spikes in property tax bills in Cook County, with a bill that is $2.8 million more than what they paid last year.

    The owners of the Continental Towers in Rolling Meadows saw one of the largest single-year spikes in property tax bills in Cook County, with a bill that is $2.8 million more than what they paid last year. Daily Herald File Photo/2014

 
 
Updated 6/18/2020 5:21 PM

The owners of six commercial properties in Cook County's Northwest suburbs are getting tax bills this month that are at least $1 million more than what they paid last year.

That's according to data released by Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas' office as part of the second installment of property tax bills due Aug. 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The hikes are largely due to significant increases to property values Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi's office imposed during the tri-annual reassessment process last year.

The county is broken into three assessment triads: The north, south and city of Chicago. The triads are reassessed every three years. The northern part was the first section reassessed after Kaegi took office.

A data processing center on a 650,000-square-foot parcel in Elk Grove Village saw the largest bump from last year to this year in the northern triad, according to Pappas' records. Last year, the owners of the facility at 2299 Busse Road paid $1.7 million in property taxes. This year, they owe more than $4.5 million, a 167% increase of more than $2.8 million.

Elsewhere, the owners of the Continental Towers in Rolling Meadows saw their tax bill increase by more than $2.8 million as well, up almost 80% from last year's tax bill.

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The tax bills for a strip mall at the corner of Schaumburg and Barrington roads in Schaumburg and an office complex on the 10000 block of Higgins Road in Rosemont are also on the hook for $1.2 million more this year, according to Pappas' records.

Properties in Northlake and Northbrook are the others that saw a $1 million-plus increase to their tax bills.

According to Pappas' office, the 100 commercial properties in the northern triad of the county with the largest tax hikes combine to owe $54.6 million more this year than last.

Pappas posted the new tax bills on her website, cookcountytreasurer.com. Printed bills will start arriving in owners' mailboxes in the coming days.

Many of the assessments on these properties were appealed by the owners and go through the Cook County Board of Review before being finalized, officials in Kaegi's office said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Kaegi, a Democrat, campaigned on reforming the assessment process after unseating his predecessor, Joe Berrios, in the primary. Berrios was accused of giving breaks to wealthy property owners and shifting the tax burden to owners in lower-income neighborhoods.

"Our office is dedicated to fairer, more accurate assessments, which are driven by data," said Kaegi spokesman Scott Smith. "We don't have an end result in mind that favors one property type over another. But we have promised to correct the mistakes of the past which led to regressive outcomes, which overwhelmingly fell on those least able to afford it."

In addition to commercial property increases, Pappas' records show several suburbs experienced a decrease in the overall tax burden to property owners. Property taxes owed in Barrington Hills dropped by nearly $1.3 million, or 6.9% this year. That's largely due to the average residential property tax bill decreasing by $1,436, according to the treasurer's office.

Property owners in Inverness and South Barrington also owe less in property taxes than last year. Homeowners will see most of the benefit.

Meanwhile, the average Hanover Park homeowner can expect an increase of 6.9% to the tax bill. Park Ridge homeowners can expect to pay on average 6.3% more. Schaumburg and Wheeling homeowners will see their tax bills increase by nearly 4.5% on average, according to the treasurer.

Pappas, who has been a watchdog of local tax spending and municipal debt, said she has concerns about the reliance on property taxes, especially after the COVID-19 created widespread unemployment.

"I don't know how somebody out of work, business or employee, can take any kind of increase when they can't pay the original bill," she said.

All told, property tax bills this year increased by more than $157 on average throughout the county, according to figures from Pappas' office.

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