Michael E. Musson, C.I.A.O., MPA
(630) 231-8900 Fax: (630) 231-9534
My staff and I hope to complete the 2010 assessments in mid-to-late September. Consequently, the estimated publication of the 2010 equalization notice in the Examiner newspapers will likely occur in late September or early October. After publication of the equalization notice, homeowners will have 30 days to file an assessment appeal with the DuPage County Board of Review. If you are considering filing an assessment appeal, please contact my office first.
All properties in Wayne Township will receive an equalization factor reducing the 2010 assessment. This equalization factor will be approximately .94 to .95. I recognize that many homeowners have perceived a sharper decline in market values than this five to six percent reduction; however, we are required to use a three-year sales pool in determining the assessments each year. The 2010 equalization factor will be calculated based on sales that occurred between 2007 and 2009.
The use of three years of sales results in a slower reaction to changes in market values, both when sale prices are increasing or decreasing. However, if assessments were reduced more significantly, tax rates would automatically increase by the same rate, ensuring that taxing districts would be able to collect the same tax dollars from property-owners. The assessor cannot control overall tax dollars received by the various taxing districts. Spending by these districts must be curtailed in order for taxes to be reduced.
Many homeowners have contacted my office, concerned that recent appraisals have yielded lower market values than indicated by their assessed values; however, these appraisals often include as comparables sales of foreclosed homes, and/or sales that occurred after January 1, 2010. According to state law, we cannot use foreclosure sales or 2010 sales in determining 2010 assessed values. Again, we are also required to look at a three-year sales window, while appraisers and realtors are considering a much narrower time-frame, which often results in a much different opinion of value.
Because tax rates increase when assessments decrease, and vice versa, assessment uniformity must also be considered. If all assessments were too high relative to market value, but assessments were uniform, tax rates would be lower. If assessments were uniformly lower than market values, tax rates would be higher. In either of these cases, tax bills would remain the same.