Winnebago County residents receive property assessments

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Thousands of Winnebago County residents receive an update on the value of their property. Last week, the County Supervisor of Assessments office sent out more than 9,000 notices of assessment changes.

“The level of sales of similar properties in their neighborhoods will have a direct affect on what the assessors place on their property for value,” said Winnebago County Supervisor of Assessments Thomas Walsh. “Then, any changes to the property.”

Walsh says around 7,300 assessments were changed to bring properties up to value with what homes are selling for in the neighborhoods now. 1,300 were increased due to home improvements assessors spotted. More than 90% of the assessments in the county were unchanged by township assessors.

“They go out and make a sight inspection,” said Walsh. “If there’s a new improvement, they’ll measure that, bring the information back into the office.”

Conor Brown, Rockford Area Realtors’ government affairs director, says when homeowners see an increased assessment, they become concerned a higher property tax bill will follow. But adds, increasing the value of all properties in the county could actually lead to lower taxes.

“If you start having that increase in property value, you’ll then have a corresponding decrease hopefully in that property tax rate,” explained Brown.

Changes in tax bills will be determined after taxing bodies file their levies later this year.  County officials say if taxing bodies hold their levies at last year’s level, the total amount of taxes collected countywide next year will stay the same as this year’s total.

Brown says if you don’t agree with the assessment — you may not have to live with that. There’s an appeal process in place.

“If somebody feels like their property might be overvalued and they want an adjustment, that’s their constitutional right to file that complaint,” said Brown.

County officials say residents should first contact their township assessor’s office for an assessment explanation. But if still want to challenge, residents can visit the county’s supervisor of assessment page for a real estate assessment complaint form.

Of the 1,800 assessment challenges filed last year, more than half received a reduction.

Residents have until August 20th to file the complaint.

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