Cook County Board of Review Closes 2017 Appeal Session Funding Cuts to BOR and record number of appeals extend session

Cook County Board of Review Closes 2017 Appeal Session

Funding Cuts to BOR and record number of appeals extend session

 

May 25 (Chicago)—The Commissioners of the Cook County Board of Review, the highest volume assessment appeals board in the country, closed the 2017 session after adjudicating 360,700appealed parcels in 228,380 cases (a case can have more than one parcel).  228,380 filed cases were the highest number filed in the history of the Board.   Due to cuts in the Board of Review’s budget and a record number appeals, the 2017 session closed May 17, 2018.  The 2016 BOR Appeal Session closed April 17, 2017.  Tax bills were collected on time in 2017 but are in danger of being mailed and collected late in 2018.  

Beginning with the Budget session in October 2017 and throughout the Appeal Session, the BOR repeatedly warned the County Board and Office of the President of the consequences of underfunding this critical part of the property tax cycle.  The BOR agreed to reduce its already underfunded annualized $12 million budget by $600 thousand, in recognition of the budget concerns of the County, but the County Board cut a further $1.2 million for a net reduction of $1.8 million which forced the elimination of 19 job positions from 130 approved positions to 111.  The County also froze replacing staff turnover, and led to another 6 analyst resignations/retirements bringing the total staff reductions to 25, a 19% drop. 

Despite the deep cuts to the BOR budget, the appeal session was only extended 30 days; a delay which could affect the collection of property tax revenue. The BOR is working with all agencies to shorten the time of calculating, creating and mailing the bills.   It is estimated it cost Cook County taxpayers $5 million each month the tax bill collections are late.  In addition, without adequate staff levels, the BOR is unable to defend the county at the Illinois Property Tax Board, putting nearly a $500 million liability to taxpayers at high risk.  

The 2018 Board of Review appeal session promises greater challenges coming this fall with the City reassessment. Despite cuts, the BOR will continue to provide every resident with the opportunity to file an appeal of their property’s assessment through an aggressive outreach program.  The outreach program reaches underserved neighborhoods and communities to combat regressivity found in the system by the Civic Consulting Alliance (CCA) in a 2018 study.  An outreach schedule will be posted on www.cookcountyboardofreview.com.  

“This past fall during Cook County Board of Review's Budget presentation, I clearly outlined the dire consequences of insufficiently resourcing this office,” said Commissioner Larry R. Rogers, Jr.   “For example, the delayed distribution of real estate tax revenue to a municipality with little or no reserves could force the closing of its libraries as early as this August right before the beginning of the school year, adversely impacting the most vulnerable of Cook County citizens, its children.  Sadly, there is a clear correlation between the BOR's FY18 budget, the resulting insufficient departmental funding and the timing of the mailing of the 2nd installment.”

“I commend the BOR staff for their hard in this very difficult environment,” said Commissioner Michael Cabonargi. “The Board saw the highest number of files in its history with the lowest number of staff in 20 years, but our dedicated professionals worked nights and weekends for 5 months to ensure we could close as soon as possible.” 

Established as a check and balance to the Assessor’s office, the Cook County Board of Review (BOR) is a forum for property owners to appeal their assessment.   Cook County collects and distributes to various taxing districts over $13 billion in property tax revenues annually.   Property owners’ proportion of this property tax is determined by the assessed value of their property which is initially set by the Cook County Assessor’s Office. Governed by the Illinois Property Tax Code, the Board of Review accepts and adjudicates assessment appeals from Cook County property owners to determine fair assessments for the purpose of establishing individual property owners’ fair share of property tax liability. The BOR hears over 400,000 PIN appeals now comprising over 200,000 dockets every year.  The BOR also defends the County’s assessment decisions at the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB).  Their work at PTAB saves county taxpayers an estimated $25 million in reduced refunds each year.  

The Cook County Board of Review is a quasi-judicial independent office responsible for adjudicating assessment appeals for all property in Cook County. The Board consists of three Commissioners elected in three separate districts in Cook County.  Please contact the Board of Review at (312) 603-5542 with any questions.  For more information, please go to www.CookCountyBoardofReview.com

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