County board member says 'tax revolution' coming

DeWayne Bartels

“It’s time for a lawsuit,” said a disembodied voice.

The statement came in a Peoria County Courthouse elevator filled with unhappy property owners after the Peoria County Board voted 13-2 to reappoint Gary Shadid and Nancy Horton to the Peoria County Board of Review May 14.

The vote came after yet another group of citizens complained about the board of review’s operation and an unsuccessful attempt by a few county board members to delay the vote.

Citizen speak

David Etnier, of Dunlap, told the county board he had concerns about the “consistent inconsistencies” with the decisions of the board of review.

Roy Endres, of 5624 Grand Circle, said he had a list of 20 properties that received increases in assessments from board of review member Nancy Horton that he could not understand.

“Either the system is broken, or we have incompetent people on the board of review,” Endres said.

“This needs to be addressed ... We’ve got to take a good, hard look at this.”

After hearing from the citizens, Peoria County Board member Bob Baietto (R), representing North Peoria, made a motion to defer the vote on Shadid and Horton for a month. Board member Merle Widmer (R-Peoria), seconded the motion.

“We have a lot questions. It’s premature,” Baietto said.

Peoria County assistant state’s attorney William Atkins told the board they could vote to defer the vote, but that would not force the county board chairman Tom O’Neill (D-Bartonville) to put new names up for consideration. Atkins also said that, if the vote was delayed, Shadid and Horton would remain on the board of review until the vote was taken.

County board member Pat Hidden (D), who represents Bartonville, broke ranks with the rest of the Democrats on the board and said she also favored delaying the vote and looking into the issues within the board of review.

Baietto saidd, “My big concern is no answers to questions raised ... This is not over. You will see a tax revolution.”

Someone, Baietto said, has to step forward and provide answers about how the board of review operates.

“If we don’t go to bat for these people who will?” Hidden said.

O’Neill listened, but when he addressed the board made it clear it was his choice alone concerning whose names to put before the board.

“There’s not a whole lot going to change. We can put it off a month,” O’Neill said. “But, that doesn’t mean I will bring up any new names.”

O’Neill listened to a few Democratic board members applaud his choice to re-appoint Shadid and Horton.

O’Neill then added, “Put it off a month and it will be the same thing, we will listen to an endless time of speeches.”

In the end only Baietto and Hidden voted to delay the vote.

When the vote was taken on the appointments, the same pair were the only ones to vote against Shadid and Horton. Widmer said after the vote he had voted the wrong way.