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Local Column

Olson: Today's Daily Chronicle includes extensive list of property assessments

There’s a good chance you can see your name in print in Thursday’s Daily Chronicle – along with what your local township assessor has determined your property is worth.

Every four years, state law requires the equalized assessed value of every property in the county be published in a local newspaper. This is one of those years. In the large insert in Thursday’s edition, properties in 18 of the county’s 19 townships are listed by property index number, names of the owners of record and EAV. (Information for Sandwich Township is published this week in the Sandwich Record newspaper.)

Equalized assessed value is a third of the “fair market value” that assessors for the county’s
19 townships assign to individual properties. So, if you want to know how much they think your property is worth, multiply that number by three and that should give you a good idea.

Why does this information matter? For one, the value of property is a key component in determining how much you owe in property tax – the other being your local tax rates, which are set based on how much governments levy in property tax.

For another, the publication of this information starts the clock ticking on time you have to appeal your assessment. If you think your assessment is too high, you have until Nov. 12 to file an appeal with the county’s Board of Review, County Supervisor of Assessments Robin Brunschon said.

But before you go making it a Board of Review case, Brunschon recommends contacting your township assessor, who will have all the information about your property’s assessment.

“Sometimes there are mistakes made,” Brunschon said. “It’s not intentional, but if you have something that’s changed, you need to contact your local township assessor.”

There’s more information about property taxes, including contact information for township assessors, on the county’s website, DeKalbCounty.org. You can also access the county’s property tax inquiry system, wEdge, which will include more detailed information, through the site.

Not everyone whose property is published in Thursday’s listings has had their assessment hiked – and in some cases, increases in EAV may be because of township multipliers, which are set to make sure assessments overall align with values. If you own farmland, your property assessment changes every year in a much more complex process.

But there’s a good chance that assessments could have gone up for homeowners, as market trends indicate property is gaining value, Brunschon said.

“We’ve had a big increase in market value here in the last few years in this county,” she said. “Market values are going up. Sales indicate that the market is moving better than it has in a long time.”

An increase in your assessment will not necessarily mean your tax bill will go up, although having the assessment reduced would likely mean you’ll owe less than you would otherwise.

Property owners whose assessment was increased will receive a letter notifying them, Brunschon said.

But you can get a jump on things now, by looking up what your assessor says your property is worth in Thursday’s listings, deciding if you think it’s fair, and taking it from there.

• Eric Olson is general manager of the Daily Chronicle. Reach him at 815-756-4841 ext. 2257, email eolson@shawmedia.com, or follow him on Twitter @DC_Editor.

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