Assessor says she’s cleaning up office mess

Evanston’s new township assessor, Bonnie Wilson, told aldermen Tuesday that she’s spent much of her time in her first four months in office cleaning up problems left behind by her predecessor.

Wilson said she found that former assessor Sharon Eckersall had:

  • Failed for years to forward thousands of city building permits to the county assessors office, which means the value of such improvements wasn’t known to the county when affected properties were reassessed.
  • Failed to maintain access to a county assessor’s office computer program that provides detailed data to help township assessors assist taxpayers with assessment appeals.
  • Failed to pay a vendor who provides computer software support for the assessor’s office.

Wilson said she’s in the midst of replacing eight-year-old computers in the assessor’s office which lacked backup systems and current anti-virus software.

In her report at the annual township meeting, Wilson said she’s changed her mind about the idea of moving the assessor’s office from a small shopping center at Dodge Avenue and Main Street to the Civic Center.

She said she initially favored the proposal, advocated by some aldermen as a way of reducing costs, but now believes that the current office is more accessible to residents with mobility impairments than the Civic Center would be.

Eckersall, who’s currently running as the Republican candidate for Cook County Assessor, says on her campaign website that Wilson’s allegations against her are false and that she plans to respond to them shortly. She notes that Wilson formerly was head of the Democratic Party of Evanston.

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