Thursday, September 03, 2015

4.4 Million in Centralizing Assessments should remain a Lake County Priority

Yesterday at the Finance Committee I asked if we were adding "Centralized Assessments for Lake County" on our 2016 Legislative Agenda. This is a timely issue since our RRL (L for Legislation) will be putting together our Agenda for our State Legislators over the next month.

To refresh everybody's memory, I had brought the issue of Centralized Assessments up to the RRL Committee about a year ago, our staff put together a Final Draft Report in which an estimated 4.4 million of wasted property tax dollars could be saved, and the RRL Committee differed further discussion with direction we meet with representation of 18 Township Assessors.

While Lake County Chairman Aaron Lawlor stated that legislation could be introduced through February of 2016, he thought it would be difficult to pass such legislation downstate on an election year. All that being said, we could amend our legislative agenda at anytime, giving us ample time to get the issue on the table after our discussion with the Assessors.

I believe the Lake County Board Members should stand up now and ask the State to give us authority to Centralizing Assessments in Lake County and Eliminate 18 Township Assessor offices. It has always been my opinion that these offices are a waste of money we can't afford and closing them would save our taxpayers at least 4.4 million dollars in property taxes. Read the Report! After many conversations with assessors and reviewing their data, I feel very comfortable that our Lake County report showing a estimated 4.4 million in savings is on the mark. I am not expecting any new revelations to emerge at future meetings with the Assessors but only a response to our Lake County report which I have heard.

Now we can sit on our hands and wait for Melinda Bush and other legislators of Lake County to do something constructive on Centralizing Assessments, but their recent silence on this subject has been deafening and discouraging. While you could be right Mr. Chairman on the election year politics shutting this initiative down, we were not elected to be bystanders and I strongly suggest we NUDGE them a bit. We need to put the welfare of our residents first by adding Centralized Assessments on our legislative agenda in 2016! Hey, this should be a no brainer for our reform Governor Rauner.