Property Tax Assessments Draw Outcry

Property Tax Assessments Draw Outcry

Commercial property owners in Northfield Township were stunned by the increases in assessed values recently released by the Cook County Assessor’s Officer. While many expected to see changes under new Assessor Fritz Kaegi, the shock of valuations that doubled or almost tripled has been felt throughout the business community.

“I’ve received a number of calls from our members who have been hit with massive increases in their assessments,” notes Tensley Garris, Chamber President. “Throughout the northern Cook County suburbs, commercial increases have far outpaced residential. The anticipated increases are placing our businesses as a huge competitive disadvantage to those in neighboring Lake County.”

Due to tax ordinances existing only in Cook County, owners of business property pay 60% more in taxes than residential owners on a dollar-per-dollar basis. Commercial property produces 2.5 times the Equalized Assessment Value (EAV) and tax revenue per dollar of value compared to residential property.

On top of that differential, the Assessor’s new calculations have led to significantly greater increases on commercial property than on residential. According to data summarized by Crain’s Chicago Business, assessments on residential property in Northfield Township increased by 13.7 percent, while commercial property assessments jumped an average of 82.1 percent. Based on figures reported to the Chamber and to the Village Trustees, Northbrook businesses are seeing increases far above that amount.

Village President Sandy Frum took a stand on behalf of the business community. In a letter to Assessor Kaegi (re-printed in full right), she noted the disproportionate increases reported by Northbrook businesses. Her letter argues that “it is blatantly unfair for Northbrook to be carrying such a burden for the Township,” and asks for the Assessor’s help in easing the impact of the triennial assessment.

  • Letter from Village President Sandra Frum

    Monday, June 24, 2019

    Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi
    Cook County Assessor’s Office
    118 N. Clark Street, Room 320
    Chicago, IL 60602

    Dear Assessor Kaegi,
    I am writing to you today concerning the dramatic and drastic change in the property assessment of Northbrook’s businesses and residences due to the Triennial. Mark Bernhard Woodworking mentioned a 120% increase; Lewis Carpet and Tile 280%; and 1512 Shermer 187%. While I well understand the difference between the levy and an assessment, it’s undoubtable that businesses will see a very large increase in the property taxes they pay. Such a rise can mean selling a property, trying to raise rents, paying out of pocket, or even losing the asset to the bank.
    On your website, the average increase for industrial/commercial properties in Northfield Township is 82%. This is nowhere near the 120-280% I am hearing; I wouldn’t be writing this letter if it were. But it is blatantly unfair for Northbrook to be carrying such a burden for the Township.
    While there is a tax appeal process, it is not cheap and takes a considerable amount of time. I understand the goal of increased transparency and uniformity in the assessment process. Reaching that objective over a reasonable amount of time makes sense, but drastic and sweeping changes do nothing but create chaos for our commercial properties.
    These small businesses are a fixture in our town and we depend upon them. I am truly concerned about the effect of the Triennial Assessment on the viability of our commercial community.
    I look forward to your help in ameliorating the impact of the Triennial. This can’t continue. I need your help.

    Sandra E. Frum
    Village President