Chicago’s Lakeview Residents Have Until Sept. 3rd to Appeal Higher Assessments

August 17, 2009

Daily Real Estate Updates

sudler-sothebys-logo17 August 2009 ? September 3rd, 2009 is the deadline for Lakeview township properties owners to appeal their new larger property tax assessments. In a hit and run action following the notices being mailed, James Houlihan, the person responsible for the increased taxes has announced his decision not to run for re-election for Cook County Assessor. Adding to higher property taxes, Mayor Daley is asking for an “abatement” in the Chicago Public School line item on the tax bill defending himself by stating it is not a tax increase although it will raise everyone?s bill. These increases put further burden upon Lakeview property owners in the midst of a declining market that is just beginning to show the signs of leveling off of property values. Higher tax bills in this economy will result in an increase of short sales and foreclosures. On Friday, newly appointed Commissioner Bridget Gainer met with the Chicago Association of Realtors® Governmental Affairs Committee and engaged in open discussion with its members on this issue as well as others plaguing Cook County. Gainer shows the knowledge and willingness to work on long time Realtor® issues with the association.

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About Andrea Geller

Andrea Geller, Realtor® with Sudler Sotheby?s International Realty, specializes in residential real estate sales and marketing of resale properties and new construction homes. Acknowledged as an expert in the real estate industry, Andrea has been interviewed for industry related articles for print and online media including the Chicago Tribune, Crain's Chicago Business, Reuters,, and Illinois Realtor Magazine. Andrea's commitment extends to the community as an active member of several professional associations. Her appointments include the Board of Directors of the Chicago, Illinois, and National Association of Realtors® and the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce. She markets herself under HOT PROPERTY®, an innovation in the real estate industry led by Chaz Walters that has been marketed since the 1990s. This unique real estate concept is always a step ahead of the industry providing marketing from cutting edge interactive exposure to targeted innovative advertising opportunities. Visit her at or 773.868.3090.

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3 Responses to “Chicago’s Lakeview Residents Have Until Sept. 3rd to Appeal Higher Assessments”

  1. Eric Herman Says:

    Ms. Geller:

    Your Aug. 17 posting about the Lakeview reassessment contains distortions and factual errors.

    The ?hit and run action? you describe was in reality the careful, deliberate result of a reassessment of one of the city?s ? and the country?s ? most resilient neighborhoods. By law, the Assessor?s office incorporates the previous three years of sales in calculating the assessment. For many Lakeview property owners, their market value jumped significantly in 2006 and 2007 before experiencing a modest decline in 2008. In such cases, their market value would still be higher than at the time of the last reassessment in 2006.

    I invite you to read our office?s press release on Lakeview, which contains some facts which might help you better understand the reassessment ? for example, that Lakeview has a far lower foreclosure rate than other areas of the city. Here?s the link:

    Your statement that Assessor Houlihan is ?the person responsible for the increased taxes? shows you do not understand the property tax system in Cook County.

    Let?s start with a basic fact: The Assessor?s Office does not levy taxes. The Assessor does not tax anybody. Taxes are levied by the local taxing bodies, including the school district, the city, county government, the park district, and so forth. The Assessor?s Office comes up with an assessed value for each property; that value is used in calculating the property owner?s individual tax bill. In other words, the assessment determines the individual?s share of the overall tax burden. But the Assessor has no role in deciding what that tax burden is. If the taxing bodies (schools, city, etc.) asked for less money, everbody?s tax bill would go down.

    Also, even as a formal matter, the tax bills are sent out and collected by the Cook County Treasurer, not the Assessor.

    Next time you decide to write about this, I encourage you to call the office for comment or response. We?d be happy to help ? and I am happy to provide you with more detailed information on Lakeview Township if you need it.


    Eric Herman
    Cook County Assessor’s Office

  2. Eric Herman Says:

    Ms. Geller:

    No one has worked harder to change our troubled property tax system than Assessor Houlihan. He created the 7% Expanded Homeowner Exemption, which saved Cook County homeowners thousands on their tax bills ? but is now unfortunately being phased out, thanks to the General Assembly. If you want to convey a message to your readers and clients, tell them to write to their state legislators and demand that the 7% be reinstated at its highest level of protection.

    The phasing out of 7% accounted for big jumps in tax bills last year ? and it will be worse this year and next year. You can thank the General Assembly for that. Again, your readers and clients need to write to their legislators ? and especially to Speaker Mike Madigan ? and tell them this vital protection must be restored.

    To describe Assessor Houlihan?s retirement as a ?hit and run? is gratuitous and unfair. First of all, many sections of the city ? including four Lakeview neighborhoods ? are seeing lower median assessments this time around. Second, Assessor Houlihan has done more than any other previous assessor to fight for homeowners? interests. The 7% Expanded Homeowner Exemption is just one example. He was also the first Assessor to put the entire assessment on the Web. Indeed, homeowners can now appeal on the Internet, thanks to him, instead of having to come down to our office. Transparency has been the hallmark of his 12 years in office.

    I certainly understand the frustration you speak of. But for your information, our assessment methods give more weight to recent sales. And if anyone feels we have made a mistake in their assessment, we encourage them to appeal. That is the whole reason we put the assessment information on the Web. We want people to be able to evaluate our work and tell us when we?ve made a mistake. That is what Assessor Houlihan told 250 Lakeview residents at a public outreach even last week held at Lane Tech High School.

    By the way, do people engaged in a ?hit and run? really stand up before hundreds of taxpayers in a hot, crowded auditorium and take their questions and comments for several hours? That?s precisely what Jim did last week.


    Eric Herman

  3. Andrea Geller Says:

    I do have some understanding of the complicated tax system in Cook County. To most of the public there is not a distinction of the assessor?s office and the treasurer?s office. What matters to the property owners is their assessment and ultimately their tax bill. As the system currently in place works in arrears, the numbers and how they are evaluated are not truly reflective of current property values. From the property owners perspective, their values are what the banks and appraisers say they are: the last three comparable properties within the last six months.