Monday, March 16, 2009

Word on the Street - Journal Star

Today's article by JS Reporter Karen McDonald was pretty much "on the money" However, "Money, politics a volatile mix" indicates politics were involved. Not hardly, common sense, not politics is lacking by at least the two youngest members of the Peoria County Board of Appeals. One a Democrat and one a Republican. Neither is qualified for the the position they occupy as appointees of my Democrat friend Bill Prather and now up for reappointment by my friend Democrat Tom O'Neill 111.

I understand that few apply for the job, so perhaps the pay should be better which in turn, may decrease the possibility of favoritism.

You bet money is involved as many of us are paying far more property tax on our properties than common sense warrants, common sense which I said is lacking on the Appeals Board. I add common courtesy is lacking, especially when Nancy Horton asked me "who do you think you are". Possibly a retaliation, as cited in an article by DeWayne Bartels in the Times Observer on March 12,2008, towards those who protest their property taxes and ask for a come-see reevaluation. DeWayne quotes Appeal board member Nancy Horton, wife of the Recorder of Deeds, Brad Horton as saying "That's not true", contradicting what other property owners have said. Shadid said "Our concern is to make sure the process is fair".

That's not what the full County Board heard last Thursday.

Hard to be fair when the least amount of work is put in the process. Such as actually going out with the taxpayer to examine the property especially when fair value assessment on a property has doubled only to find the property sold a short time later for half the price of "fair value"..

Of course, to do any tough job well, it takes a lot of stamina and hard work. And diplomacy and courtesy. State law changed apparently to make it more difficult for someone to protest and the attitude of the appeals board has changed from one of being friendly and helpful to one that is sometimes antagonistic to the person who is righteously asking for reasons why their assessments have risen so much.

I was told to get information about houses that had sold in a two-three block area surrounding my home only to find that assessed values for the whole 228 home subdivision were calculated to determine my assessed value.

As to retaliation for protesting, I can't prove, but it was interesting that the number of cases going to Springfield on Review is rising and last year 51 of the protesters had their taxes increased, some substantially.

Some governmental bodies have reputedly put a limit on the per cent of assessment increase in a year. Something appears to be not right in the process of Peoria County fairly handling customer complaints and the county and the assessors seem to like and continue tolerating a system that is confusing the property tax paying owners, especially the smaller property owners.

If corrective action is not taken, expect a greater exodus from this county and state over the next few years as taxes are going to jump dramatically when all the new bonds being sold or soon to be sold and taxes, property or sales or income, will start being collected.

A county committee is looking into it and will report back to the full board. Those with legitimate complaints should keep coming back to address the full board. With those who have more pertinent information than than be conveyed to the full board in the 3 minutes allotted, we will try to vote you more time.

For those who criticize the old board for not collecting more property taxes, I remind taxpayers that property taxes collected by the county rise every year, $25,510,000.00 anticipated for 2009, an increase over 2008.


Diane Vespa said...

Merle, can you please provided a link to DeWayne Bartel's article? I can't find it.

Merle Widmer said...

March 12 and 17 2008 editions of the Peoria Times Observer. Front page nd 2 editorials "Bad Reviews just Keep Coming" and "Board Needs Transparency".