Property assessments draw reactions and worries from homeowners

Local News

WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) – Homeowners in Winnebago County get a surprise in the mail. Their property is worth more than it was, at least on paper.

Property assessments happen every year, but every four years it’s time for a “general assessment,” where properties are re-valued. 2019 is one of those years, and some homeowners are concerned.

“My wife and I just got back from vacation, so we had a little bit of mail to go through,” said Winnebago County homeowner, Kenneth Szell. “And, surprisingly, the assessment was in the mix, and when I opened it, I was rather surprised at the increase.”

Kenneth Szell and his wife built their home in Roscoe 18 years ago. He can’t remember a property assessment jump like this.

“29% was a real shocker,” said Szell

Szell is not alone. Pending a review process, the average property assessment increased by about 6% since last year in Winnebago County. Winnebago County Supervisor of Assessments Tom Hodges says that’s a good thing.

“The increase in assessed value county-wide is an extremely positive thing for the area,” said Hodges. “And it shows that we’re moving in the right direction.”

Szell isn’t so sure. He’s worried the increase will come with higher property taxes.

“It could be a good thing if you’re selling, but, of course, we’re here for the long-haul with no plans to sell,” said Szell. “So, therefore, I feel the assessment was greater than the value of the home.”

But, Hodges says an increased valuation doesn’t necessarily mean higher taxes.

“A lot of the taxing districts have been holding their levies very steady,” said Hodges. “If that is the case, then in theory, the property tax rate would go down.”

Concerned homeowners are encouraged to utilize the board of review.

“If they feel that they are being overassessed, they can call our office or go to our website and fill out a 2019 complaint form to appeal their assessed value to the Winnebago County Board of Review,” said Hodges.

Szell says he’ll be filling out those forms.

“I’ve never had to do that in the past, but, of course, this year, going from a 29% increase from last year, I certainly will have to do that,” said Szell. “I recently retired, along with my wife, so we’re on a fixed income now.”

Residents have until September 16th to file a complaint with the Winnebago County Board of Review. The required forms are available on the County Assessor’s website.

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