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With the death this week of incoming Evanston Township Assessor Sharon Eckersall, the Town Board — composed of the city’s aldermen — will have the job of deciding who will replace current assessor Bonnie Wilson.

The township assessor’s office, which is being vacated as town staff moves to the city’s Civic Center.

With the death this week of incoming Evanston Township Assessor Sharon Eckersall, the town board — composed of the city’s aldermen — will have the job of deciding who will replace current assessor Bonnie Wilson.

But City Attorney Grant Farrar says they’ll have some time to make the decision, since under state law Eckersall, elected last April, wasn’t scheduled to take office until Jan. 1 next year.

In a memo to the Town Board today, Farrar says the state’s property tax code, at 35 ILCS 200/2-60 specifies that the board shall either appoint a new assessor or contract with someone to fill the job.

Either way the person filling the position has to have completed the special coursework required of assessors.

The statute says an appointee, but not a contractor, also must be of the same political party as the person whose vacancy is being filled.

But Farrar says that although Eckersall ran as a Republican in her unsuccessful race for county assessor, because she was elected township assessor in a non-partisan election, that provision doesn’t apply.

Whether an appointee or contractor, the person getting the job is limited to the salary set for the assessor — which is just over $8,000 a year.

Likely complicating the job search will be the fact that the aldermen are expected to put a binding referendum question on the election ballot next March asking voters to abolish the township. In an advisory referendum last year voters favored that idea by a 2-1 margin.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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5 Comments

  1. ME

    OneSmartGuy is is our choice, so far, unless anonymous Al chooses to offer his services. This is based on the fact that no special knowledge is required for the job. The Township Assessor can not assess and can only help you fill out appeals and apply for exemptions. They have no power to lower or raise your taxes. The salary is rather low for a pol that has so little to do.

    1. Cook County Township Assessors

      Township Assessors in Cook County are responsible for forwarding municipal permits to the Cook County Assessor for valuation as well as storing property transfer declarations. Additionally, according to State law, Cook County Township Assessors act as Deputy Assessors for the Cook County Assessor.  This provides a local resource to better serve the public. 

      1. Technicality

        Cook County township assessors may, technically, be considered deputy asssessors for the Cook County Assessor, but that is in name only.  The Cook County Assessor does not utlize township assessors during the assessment process.

  2. Whoever it is …

    I hope they will return phone calls and return emails about problems, reviews and obvious fraud in accessments—such as one building getting a 59% decrease despite the valuation being 50% of their sale price compared with an attached 'mirror' building.  In the last election I posed this to all candidates—all said they would investigate and repond—none did !

    I found the Township office useless.

    1. Assessment problems

      I would be more than happy to sit down and research any issue you have with the assessing of property here in Evanston.  However, the Cook County Assessor is responsible for setting assessments in Cook County. Contact me at 847-332-2465 to make an appointment to research your issues.  

      Deputy Assessor Evanston Township

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