Property tax rates for Evanston residents are rising more than 11.6 percent this year as taxing bodies respond to declining property values.

Cook County Clerk David Orr says equalized assessed valuations of properties in the northern suburbs, including Evanston, have decreased between 9 and 12 percent.

The tax rate for the City of Evanston went up 16.72 percent, but most taxing bodies, which, unlike the city, are limited by tax caps in how much they can levy, showed smaller rate increases.

Evanston Township High School’s rate increased 13.3 percent and School District 65’s rate rose 6.1 percent.

One exception was Oakton Community College, whose tax rate rose 22.5 percent.

Comparing nearby communities, the Village of Skokie’s tax rate rose 12.1 percent, Wilmette’s was up 15.4 percent and Glenview’s increased 11.8 percent.

The County Clerk’s full report on tax rates is available online

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Taxes again !

    They must have got their economics training with the Evanston Council.  How else can you explain how they can raise rates as home values fall and the economy is just moving sideways.

    The surest way to get people to move—and bankrupt them—is to keep inventing new ways to spend and increasing taxes.

    Even people who can 'afford' it will decide they are sick of it and move out of the county or even the state.

    1. Evanston property taxes have

      Evanston property taxes have been an issue for as long as I can remember. 

      As the saying goes, "You really have to want to live in Evanston," and people do so for many other reasons despite than their high property tax bill. 

      Sure, move to some outlying Chicago suburb full of strip malls, where you're trapped in your house and neighborhood if you don't have a car. 

      Or, move to a low tax state–like Arizona or Texas–where anti-tax Teabagger-Christian fundies rule your neighborhood, legislature, school board and city council, and the costs of poor-quality water are astronomical.

      1. So instead it’s better to

        So instead it's better to have Hugo Chavez socialists ruling your neighborhood, legislature, school board and city council? You would think that with these property taxes Evanston would have the best schools in the state, the best services, and an adequate police presence.

        I am a Kellogg student who has lived in CA, TX, NY, and now IL.  Three of the four are fundamentally bankrupt….so I'm not sure I would trash talk the states that have a surplus of cash.

        Since 1991, Evanston hasn't even gained 1,500 residents (with a population decrease since 2004).

        Sure, you can live in one of those cheesy suburbs and drive to the lame strip mall…which makes more sense than driving to Evanston and paying to park or take a 50/50 risk of getting mugged past 10pm.  But the people who get to walk will enjoy the insanely expensive sales tax Evanston has to offer  and the picturesque image of vacancy signs littering the street.

        Where is some middle ground on taxes? They have far outpaced inflation which means at some point people won't be able to live here….

  2. Tax rate increase calculation somewhat mis-leading

    Property tax calculations are pretty complicated and the percentage increases cited in the article are somewhat misleading.

    The tax caps on the levy apply to the total dollar amount that the taxing body can request. That dollar amount then gets translated into a tax rate based upon the equalized assessed valuations.  So, even if a taxing body budgets no increase in revenue from the previous year, because of the decline in property values, its tax rate appears to increase.

    For example, for the first time in many years, the 2012 levy of the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District, NSMAD, has zero increase over the previous year. However, the County Clerk's report makes it appear as if the NSMAD raised taxes by 11.1%. Outside of relative changes in assessments (that is, changes that make your property more or less valuable than your neighbor's), the dollar amount per taxpayer paid to the NSMAD in 2012 will be the same as in 2011.

  3. taxing bodies “respond” only when prop values drop?

    I'm confused. When property values were soaring, taxing bodies were enjoying the ride. Was there any "response" from them to lower their tax rates in order to keep their take the same?

    I ask because now they are "responding" by raising tax percentages to maintain their take…at least that is the impression given by this story.

    When times are good then more money comes in, and when times are bad there appears to be a stop loss process that keep the money coming in at the same level by raising the tax rate. Am I right on this?

    1. City gets its cut no matter what

      The taxing authorities like the City decide on the levy (how much money they need), and that is then pro-rated for each property using the assessed values.  The taxing bodies don't set percentages.  The percentage is just a function of total assessed values and levies.  So when your assessment changes, your taxes may stay the same if everyone else's assessment changed by the same percentage, assuming the total levy were to stay the same (which it doesn't).

    2. Assessed Valuation

      It is obvious to anyone getting an assessment or looking at the assessed valuations of others [Evanston Review publishes them all] or online at the Assessor's office, that the valuations make no sense.

      Clearly the valuations [levy is a different matter] cannot be going up if the sale values of the homes are dropping like we know they are.  It is clear the Assessor(s) don't really try to value the property and must use a formula.  They probably also use the sale value of the last property in the block or what they consider a 'similar' property—but those areas with the bigest' real' decrease in value are probably the slowest to sell and thus get stuck with the last sale value+a percent increase.  Comparisons show very similar properties even a block away from each other differ substantially in Assessed Value.  And similar properties [house and land] in two different areas may have the property what might be consdered a 'worse' area may have a valuation greater than a 'better' area.  Or a good area does not get large increases despite real value having gone up and stayed up substantially over the years even in the general downturn, because no one sold—i.e. under assessed.

      And when two attached condo buildings that are mirrors of each other had identical Valuations but when last valued one get an increase and the other drops 59% [yet sells at 2 1/2 times that assessed Market Valuation, [and not adjusted when pointed out to the Assessor(s) and candidates] you know something is screwy—if not worse.

      Or maybe the Assessor just uses a dart board to figure valuations !

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