A report from an outside consultant released today says Cook County’s residential property tax assessment system favors the north suburbs and residents with more expensive homes.

The report from the Civic Consulting Alliance was commissioned by County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Assessor Joe Berrios after a Chicago Tribune report that claimed the residential assessment system is biased against minorities.

The Civic Consulting Alliance study suggests substantial reforms are needed to bring the county’s assessment system in line with national norms.

The study finds that assessments in Evanston are not as accurate as they should be — but that the deviance from norms is far smaller here that in many south suburban townships.

Also, because owners of high-priced homes are much more likely to appeal their assessments than owners of low-priced ones, and appeals have a high likelihood of success, it’s not clear whether reform would would bring any tax savings to most Evanston homeowners.

But it might at least eliminate the need to go through the drill of filing frequent appeals.

Related stories

How Cook County tax system shafts the little guy (Chicago Business, 2/15/18)

Berrios property tax assessments for Cook County homeowners are flawed and unfair, study confirms (Chicago Tribune, 2/15/18)

Summary Results of Phase 2 by Zoe Galland on Scribd

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Appeal issue
    My property was assessed at a 34 % increase last year but my taxes went down because of my age and the Cook County Senior Freeze.
    Because of the Senior Freeze I am not allowed the appeal my assessment, according to the assessor’s office. This is a problem if I wish to move out of Evanston (say retire to Florida or Arizona). It will make it far more difficult to sell my over assessed home by at least 100k in value.

    I don’t think they make any effort to assess homes fairly They just plug in numbers and say you can always appeal. .

    Thank you Cook County

  2. Why we like high property taxes
    Look at your property tax bill. What government agency(s) get 67% of your total tax dollars? We are doing this for “the children”. No more complaining.
    But if you still want to complain then tell your state legislators and governor that you would prefer that schools be funded by the state as required by the Illinois Constitution. Any questions?

    1. State School Funding
      You say “…schools be funded by the state as required by the Illinois Constitution.”
      If the state funds the schools, instead of Property Tax [other local funding], I’d think Evanston might come out behind.
      Sure if north shore [Wilmette to Lake Forest] money would be allocated Evanston, we would win. But it is more likely that in total [i.e. Illinois], Evanston would be found richer and thus Chicago, lower income to very low income suburbs, rural and even down state cities, would get proportional more. And that would come from not only richer north shore but from Evanston school taxes.
      Any studies on the re-allocation ?

  3. Don’t vote for Joe Berrios

    Berrios has served as Cook County’s Assessor since December 2010. During his tenure there have been allegations of nepotism and most recently the Chicago Tribune wrote a series of articles highlighting the inequities of Cook County real estate taxes. And now the Civic Consulting Alliance released their independent study which highlighted numerous deficiencies with the process for Cook County real estate taxes. Joe Berrios is in charge of Cook County real estate taxes as the Assessor, and given all the problems and inequities surrounding this issue, he doesn’t deserve to get re-elected. Berrios is also tied at the hip to House Speaker, Mike Madigan. We can’t vote out Madigan but we can vote out his cronies. Remember to vote on March 20th and don’t vote for Joe Berrios.

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