Back in June I wrote about the Chicago Tribune’s excellent expose on the broken Cook County property tax assessment process which pointed out that lower priced properties are being over-assessed while higher priced properties are being under-assessed. It’s a problem that I have noted anecdotally from time to time. It seems that numerous properties that sell above $2 MM have valuations way lower than their market value.
The Tribune article highlighted all the different ways that the Cook County Assessor’s office is screwing things up – from not being forthcoming with information to not implementing new systems. It sure looks like the office is being mismanaged by Joe Berrios, not to mention past allegations of impropriety. The guy has been in office for 7 years so it’s time for a change.
Fortunately, we will have an opportunity to help Joe retire with an election that is coming up (Why in the hell is this an elected position? Should this really be political?) next year. However, you will probably need to act a lot sooner than you think – as early as the next week or two depending upon what you want to do.
First and foremost is the Democratic Primary coming up on March 20. Basically, that’s the real election. Because of Chicago’s political leanings, whoever wins that primary has the job for the next 4 years. That’s why the real contest is in March. There is currently one challenger on the ballot: Fritz Kaegi.
However, there is another challenger trying to get on the ballot: Andrea Raila. But in order for her to get on the ballot she needs signed petitions – I think with over 8200 signatures – and the petitions need to be notarized and the deadline is less than 2 weeks away. So that’s a bit of a hurdle and that’s why I said you might want to act in the next week or two. You can download Andrea’s petition here: Andrea Raila Ballot Petition, which you can use for just yourself, or you can collect signatures from your friends and family, but in either case it needs to be notarized.
Swapping out assessors isn’t going to lower our overall property tax burden. That’s a much bigger problem. However, we do have an opportunity to ensure that it’s more fair but we will need to get out and do something about it.
Gary Lucido is the President of Lucid Realty, the Chicago area’s full service discount real estate brokerage. If you want to keep up to date on the Chicago real estate market, get an insider’s view of the seamy underbelly of the real estate industry, or you just think he’s the next Kurt Vonnegut you can Subscribe to Getting Real by Email using the form below. Please be sure to verify your email address when you receive the verification notice.