A new study by the Civic Federation says the effective tax rate on residential property in Evanston rose 12.1 percent in 2009, the most recent year for which data is available.

That was near the middle of the pack for the dozen Cook County towns included in the report. The increases ranged from lows of 8.3 percent in Oak Park and 10.7 percent in Chicago to highs of 27.8 percent in Schaumburg and 28.5 percent in Chicago Heights.

The combination of falling property values and increasing tax levies means many homeowners are paying more in taxes now than they were before the recession devastated property values.

The effective tax rate on residential property in Evanston for 2009 was 2.16 percent. That means that a taxpayer with a home valued at $300,000 would face a property tax bill of $6,480, although the homeowner’s exemption could reduce that bill slightly.

Over the past decade, Evanston’s effective tax rate on residential property has increased by 23 percent — from 1.75 percent in 2000 to 2.16 percent in 2009.

The property tax figures in the Civic Federation study include taxes levied by all taxing bodies that share in revenue from the property tax — including the City of Evanston, local school districts and county government.

The rising tax rates in the face of falling values have prompted a state lawmaker from McHenry County, Jack Franks, to introduce a bill that would prohibit any increase in a government unit’s tax levy in a year in which property values in the community fell.

For school districts and other non-home rule governments, increases now are limited to the rate of inflation or 5 percent, whichever is less.

Related document

Civic Federation: Estimated Effective Property Tax Rates

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. a characteristic of the taxing system

    In the cited survey, it says…

    "The effective property tax rate for a specific property can be calculated by dividing that
    property’s most recent annual tax liability into an estimate of its market value for the
    same year."

    In a market with falling property values where assessments upon which the property tax is based are only made every four years, this is bound to happen.

    When the housing market had home prices zooming up by the month, the "effective" property tax was wonderfully low.

    The property tax will always lag the home value, causing smiles at one point and frowns at another (now). In itself, this doesn't mean taxing bodies are raising taxes through legislation.

  2. But some get Assessor’s break and we get the taxes

    I pointed out to all the Assessor candidates and the then current Assessor an example of how bad their valuations are–but nothing was done and no explanation from anyone.

    A condo building had its Assessed Valuation dropped from $31,000 to $13,000 despite units selling for $295,000 and the duplicate building next door [actually attached] retaining their $31,000 Assessed Valuation.

    The way the valuations go with the Assessor, no wonder the rest of us suffer with high taxes.

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