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Cook County Assessor’s Office Completes Assessment Cycle Early

On-schedule assessment helps ensure on-time mailing of Tax Year 2017 property tax bills, which helps communities avoid added costs


CHICAGO - The Cook County Assessor’s Office (CCAO) today announced that it has again completed its property assessment cycle ahead of schedule, making possible on-time tax bills from the Treasurer’s Office. This will save communities tens of millions of dollars, a benefit to taxpayers which remains a firm commitment of Assessor Joseph Berrios.

The completed assessments now go to the Cook County Board of Review, which will later turn over its final figures to the Cook County Clerk. If those agencies do their work per schedule, as they have in recent years, bills will be on time once more. 2017 bills are mailed in two installments during 2018.

Tax bills have gone out on time every year since Joseph Berrios’ first full year as Assessor. This latest early completion of the assessment cycle sets up another on-time billing, which would make it seven straight years. This, despite a 31 percent reduction in staff since Berrios became Assessor.

On-time tax bills ensure that school districts, municipalities and other taxing bodies receive revenue on schedule and thus do not have to borrow money to meet budget. By eliminating that borrowing, $5 million to $6 million of would-be monthly interest is saved countywide; those savings are passed on to taxpayers.

Tax bills had never gone out on time for 34 consecutive years before the Berrios administration. 13 years under the previous assessor totaled 39 late months - which cost taxpayers many tens of millions of dollars in interest. Zero late months under Berrios have saved many tens of millions of dollars.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has said, “Assessor Berrios has worked closely with the President’s Office to modernize the Assessor’s Office and to lead the effort to get tax bills out on time. This is not a small thing because we collect taxes for every unit of government in Cook County. When we don’t get bills out on time and revenue does not come back on time, local units of government have to either dip into their reserves or borrow money to make their payroll. [On-time billing] is one of our basic responsibilities and Joe has been instrumental in our ability to make that happen.”

Since Assessor Berrios took office, CCAO has refined the assessment process and it has cut the assessment cycle by 5 months. The timely completion of the 2017 assessment, which included the reassessment of South and Southwest Suburban Cook County, is a result of this improved process.

“We believe very strongly that school districts and other taxing bodies should not have to borrow money. Saving taxpayers these many millions of dollars each year is something we’re extremely proud of. It also allows them to plan their finances with a reliable tax bill schedule,” Berrios said. “This helps ensure that second-installment tax bills will once again be mailed on the statutorily mandated date of July 1st next year.”                                                                                                                                                           

The Assessor added, “My office again certifying the assessment early this year allows other elected officials involved in the property tax cycle to have sufficient time to finish their work in a timely manner.”

Assessor Berrios lauded his employees for the quality of their work, adhering to the proper schedule and completing the assessment cycle early.  

“Our staff is capable of keeping this pace and we will continue to work diligently in 2018, when we begin reassessing the City of Chicago,” he said.


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