To the Editor:
The race for DeKalb Township assessor might be the most important office to its residents and business owners. One candidate has more than 20 years experience on the job. The challenger, Rich Gallati, has a broader education in this field.
Because I have previously been a township assessor, I know there is much that is confusing about the output of this office. Thus, an important duty of the assessor is to be available to the taxpayers and to help educate them about what state law says about property assessments.
At the recent forum, little apparent difference was evident between the two candidates because the methods, formulas, and standards are mandated by state statute and the questions at the forum did not address potential finesse differences between the two. In my opinion based on contact with both men, the clear choice will be Rich Gallati. He will be more accessible to and more cooperative with property owners, and more efficient in the job.
I assisted some parcel owners with assessment appeals a couple of years ago. When I pointed it out to the incumbent, his response was a refusal to look at the research and make an equitable adjustment. Fortunately, the DeKalb County Board of Review reduced the assessment based on fairness.
The incumbent did not even attend the board of review meeting. His general pattern is not to even try to defend his assessments to the board. He consistently is late in getting assessment workbooks returned to the chief county assessment officer which causes additional expense at the county level.
I have found the other staff people to be competent and cooperative.
The state mandates a fresh appraisal at least every fourth year. All too often, the incumbent relies on this provision to avoid more timely reviews. His arrogance to specific appeals also indicates a change is in order. I urge you to vote for an approachable, educated, cooperative, and experienced candidate, Rich Gallati.
John E. Linderoth