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More than 1,000 object to Grundy County property tax assessments

Several Grundy County residents called foul on their property assessments in December, when the 2019 assessments showed increases of 30-200% or more.
Several Grundy County residents called foul on their property assessments in December, when the 2019 assessments showed increases of 30-200% or more.

When the 2019 Grundy County property tax assessments were issued on Dec. 4, some residents were shocked to see assessment increases of 20% to as high as 200% or more over 2018.

Grundy County Supervisor of Assessments Tom Hougas said this week that 1,007 people appealed their property assessments by the Jan. 3 deadline.

Hougas said there were several factors which affected the 2019 numbers, including the fact that 2019 was a quadrennial revaluation year, where each of the county's 27,000 parcels were revalued. Hougas said the revaluation is irrespective of prior year's values, taking in all the facts known about the properties. The assessors officer then applies the statewide value systems as adjusted for Grundy County to that and compares it to the actual sales of properties in the last three years.

Hougas said for properties with significant changes, it's possible that the property was under-assessed in the past or it could be human error.

Once assessments are mailed, property owners have only 30 days by law to appeal. Grundy property owners had only until Jan. 3 to file those appeals, but the actual time available to file was shortened due to the Christmas and New Years holidays falling in that time period.

Those who filed an appeal will now go before the board of review.

A handful of residents appeared before the Grundy County Board on Tuesday, seeking additional information on how the assessments were created.

"A lot of people are wondering what the formula is for that," Grundy resident Cheryl Johnson said, adding that she and several neighbors had reached out to Hougas' office, but hadn't received any specific answers to their questions.

Another resident took to the podium on Tuesday, calling the property tax assessments "extortion."

Still another resident questioned the board of review process, expressing concern that there is not enough notice for residents challenging those assessments. That resident said he was worried that if anyone cannot attend their assigned board of review hearing, they're simply out of luck.

"After everybody has gotten the short end of the stick on the process, are they still going to keep getting the short end of the stick? This is like a train coming down the tracks and nobody can get off," he said.

Grundy Board Chair Chris Balkema said that residents can email him at cbalkema@grundyco.org and copy Hougas at thougas@grundyco.org with their specific questions.

"Then if you've felt like you haven't gotten answers, then you would involve the board up front, and we would watch the process," Balkema said.