DeWayne's World - Bad reviews keep coming
When the Peoria County Board met last week, Perry Tate of Peoria was in the audience.
He had a copy of the Peoria Times-Observer in his hands. During citizens remarks, he rose to address the issue of the Peoria County Board of Review.
He held up the paper — containing a package of stories and an editorial on the board of review being under fire for new assessment protest practices — for all to see.
Referring to a graphic on the property tax protest process Tate read the entry that said after going to the board of review taxes, could go down or stay the same.
Tate said he only wished that was true in his case.
Tate said he had a far different experience with the board of review.
“Like many of you, I was surprised when I got my tax bills,” he said.
Tate said the assessment on his properties — which include rental properties — went up between 10 and 43 percent.
So, Tate said he went to the board of review — made up of chairman Mike Champion, Nancy Horton and Gary Shadid — and protested those taxes.
He found the process this year quite different from years past. He told the board the process used to be straightforward.
“Now, we’re expected to do the job of a professional assessor,” he said.
Tate said instead of seeing his taxes stay the same or drop after going to the board of review, the assessment on several of his properties went up again.
He had a list.
One property assessment, which rose 33 percent, was raised another 10 percent after the hearing.
Another property assessment, which rose 8 percent, was raised another 16 percent after the hearing.
Another property assessment, which rose 23 percent, was raised another 17 percent after the hearing.
Another property assessment, which rose 19 percent, was raised another 10 percent after the hearing.
Another property assessment, which rose 36 percent, was raised another 12 percent after the hearing.
And, yet another property assessment, which rose 9 percent, was raised another 28 percent after the hearing.
“That, to me, is taxpayer abuse,” Tate said. “What I don’t understand is how they can penalize you for following the process.
“I think there is a problem with the process or the people running the process.”
Tate told the county board there seems to be an effort to intimidate property owners not to go through the property tax protest process.
Tate said he had some possible solutions to offer for the situation:
• Go back to the informal protest process in place before this year.
• Stop retaliatory increases to those who seek relief.
• Place a cap on assessment increases for any given year. Tate said his research showed the city of Chicago has a cap of 7 percent on assessment increases for a year.
Peoria County Board Chairman Bill Prather, who last week told me he would have the county board look into the board of review’s practices, told Tate he was turning the matter over to the county board’s tax committee.
After addressing the board, Tate said he could not figure out what had happened when protesting his taxes.
“I’ve protested my taxes two or three times over the past 20 years. I have never seen anything like what happened this last time,” Tate said.
“In the past, we’d meet somewhere in the middle.”
He shook his head when asked what explanation he received from the board of review for their actions.
“You get no explanation,” Tate said.