Budget, Local, Park Forest

Village Officials Confront Assessor: Make Things Right

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Park Forest officials held a Zoom meeting with the Cook County Assessor’s Office (CCAO) in late February to confront the assessor. Village leaders believe the village has unfair property value assessments

Village board members spoke out about the discussion with the Assessor’s Office at a meeting last month. They vowed to continue holding Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi and his office accountable. 

“We had a Zoom meeting with the Cook County Assessor to really discuss the frustration as it relates to how our properties are assessed and the formula in which they use,” Woods said at the March 4 meeting. “We continue to still have these kinds of meetings, as immediate as possible, to really address the situation.”

Others joining Woods for the meeting included Trustee Erin Slone, Village Manager Tom Mick, Economic Development & Planning Director Sandra Zoellner, and Assistant Director of Economic Development and Planning Director Andrew Brown. As part of the discussion, Village leaders provided a report comparing the assessed values in Park Forest to the assessed values in other communities over the past ten years. 

Officials Confront the Assessor with Obvious Disparities

Village officials highlighted that Park Forest’s current equalized assessed value (EAV) has fallen to its lowest point in 30 years. At the same time, the tax rate, assessed by Cook County, stands at 43.8%. Park Forest leaders suggested that the tax rate is a consequence of value. The Assessor’s Office asserted that the values were a consequence of the tax rate. 

The group asked for guidance from the Assessor’s Office. However, officials concluded that the Assessor’s Office could not answer why there were so many disparities in property assessments.

One example Park Forest officials pointed to was a disparity between two properties located next to each other. With the triennial reassessment, the property’s value at 56 South Street decreased by 45%. The value at 49 North Street increased by 59%. 

Speaking on her takeaway from the meeting, Slone said she’d like to see a consistent evaluation.

“[We’re not having these conversations] just to be speaking. We’re exchanging data back and forth to make sure that what the assessor has jives with what we have in the Village of Park Forest,” Slone said. “[I want residents to know] we are working hard to get to some sort of resolution.” 

Village leaders are mindful of the tax issue in Park Forest. They approved a zero percent increase to the Village tax levy for four of the last six years. The last increase occurring in 2020. 

Park Forest officials believe it is time for the Assessor’s Office to do its part. They want the Assessor to provide Park Forest property owners with relief. 

“We are fighting diligently and vigilantly when it comes to the assessment of our properties. This is especially in Cook County,” Woods said. 

“This is one of many conversations that we will be having,” Slone added.

This piece is taken from the Village of Park Forest’s website. We continue to investigate.