Property owners scramble to appeal assessments

Wednesday was last day to file appeal

FORD COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) -- Dozens of homeowners scrambled to fight newly assessed home values.

It affects the northern part of the county. The supervisor of assessments decided some home values  were uneven or out of place, so she reevaluated them.

But many homeowners say their new values don't make any sense, and they could have to cough up thousands more in property taxes.

Wednesday was the last day they could appeal the reassessments.

Tuesday, some homeowners were told their property values doubled. Since the deadline to file an appeal was Wednesday afternoon, many took a field trip to Paxton.

All day long, the Supervisor of Assessments Office in the Ford County Courthouse was greeted by a steady stream of unhappy homeowners walking in to ask questions or demand answers.

"I think the board of review is going to have quite a job," says Roberts Village President Rick Flessner.

He says many of his residents can't afford paying hundreds to thousands more in property taxes.

"Some people can, some people can't," he says, "especially like people that are on fixed incomes can't afford that."

People like Larry David.

"Things just didn't add up," David says.

The Roberts man estimates his house is worth $18,000 - $20,000 on a good day. The supervisor's office says it's now worth more than $30,000. But he's more worried about his neighbors.

"See that old house on the way down here that was on the corner with the door hanging off of it?" he says. "That place went up. It went up. That's what we call bulldozer bait, where I come from."

Now David's worried his kids could have a tough time trying to sell his home when he's gone.

"You know the frog and the pan thing, when you put the frog in the cool water, you put him on the stove, you turn the heat up gradually, and he stays in there? That's the way tax assessment could be done. Raise it up two percent for the rest of your life, nobody's gonna croak."

Tuesday, Supervisor of Assessments Patricia Langland said she had to make changes, because the properties hadn't been reassessed for many years, and she found the tax burden wasn't evenly distributed among homeowners.

"If there's a mistake made, then they can get that cleared up from the Board of Review," Langland says.

She says the new assessments couldn't be based on the fair market value of the houses because there isn't much of a housing market in the northern part of Ford County. Instead, they were based on age, size and condition of the home.

The Board of Review will spend the next month looking at the appeals. They'll decide whether the new assessments are fair. But at this point, no more appeals will be accepted.


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