The Evanston Chamber of Commerce will host a meeting this evening to give owners of commercial and industrial property an opportunity to question assessor’s office officials about sharp increases in newly issued tax assessment.

The new assessments dramatically increase the total share of Evanston’s property tax burden that will be carried by commercial property — from 27 to 40 percent.

At a City Council meeting last Monday, Eric Paset, managing broker of North Shore Apartments & Condos, said the assessment increases would likely force many building owners to increase rents five to 10 percent just to cover the added tax burden.

He also forecast that the increase would be impossible for many struggling retail businesses to bear, leading to increased vacancy rates in commercial properties downtown.

Linda Larkin, executive director of the chamber, says she’s heard that some commercial property owners have seen their assessments increase 200 percent.

The assessor’s office has said the new assessments are based on more realistic estimates of what multiple of net operating income owners could get if they were to sell their buildings — suggesting that, under the former assessor, commercial buildings had been dramatically under-assessed — placing an unfair burden on homeowners.

Samantha Steele, director of commercial valuations for the assessor’s office, and Scott Smith, the assessor’s chief communicatoins officer, are scheduled to attend the meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the Falcon Room on the third floor of the Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave.

Related stories

New assessments shift tax burden to commercial properties (4/1/19)

Kaegi seeks support for assessment reform bills (3/29/19)

Tax assessment hikes vary widely by neighborhood (3/26/19)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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