Saline County Tax Assessor Cheryl Pearce's office was criticized by local businessman Rod Wallace Thursday night at the county board meeting for not sending out notices of intended tax increases to citizens in time for the citizens to appeal.
Wallace said, "It's simply the law that a letter notifying the citizens of planned increases of fair market value should be sent."
Wallace cited the case of his brother's house in Williamson County. The fair market value of the house was assessed at $107,000 for a property he had paid $20,000 for in an arm's length transaction.
He appealed twice; first time they gave no relief, the second time they lowered the value to $81,195. He appealed again to the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board in Springfield and they found that his brother met his burden of proof and reduction in the subject's assessment was warranted. By rule of the appeals board in Springfield he ended up paying taxes on $20,049 which was the purchase price of the property, Wallace said.
The bottom line is the Williamson County Assessors Office had the subject property originally assessed at $107,550 with a total tax liability $2,262. However the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board found his market value to be $20,049.
Resulting in a total tax of $421.
He was also given a tax refund for the three previous years he had been overcharged.
Wallace said that statute 35ILCS 200/12-30 is the statute that says "The notice shall be mailed by the county chief assessment officer to each taxpayer whose assessment has been changed since the last preceding assessment."
Wallace also cited the cases of his daughter Sarah Wallace and the case of Justin Wood who also were subject to fair market increases without required state law notifications.
Their cases have not been resolved. Both are appealing and have been to a meeting with the committee that's in charge of that process for the county. They were denied the time to make an appeal because they hadn't received a notification as is required by law.
A request was submitted to Pearce on behalf of Sarah Wallace's case and Justin Wood's case by attorney Robert Wilson requesting that Pearce issue a determination of error and show a reduction in the tax bill to reflect the fair cash value also known as the recent purchase price for both properties. Wilson has received no response from her office.
Wallace said, "I want the situation fixed for all citizens of our county because it is critical to our overall economic viability."
"We are paying 20 percent more tax in Saline County than the citizens in Williamson County. We receive fewer services for more money,” he said.
Cheryl Pearce said Friday morning, "As far as his daughter and Mr. Wood not getting a change notice there was no change other than the township factor which was posted in the newspaper in July. We do not have to send out notices for that by law. Just because you purchase something for a given price does not determine the fair market price. You have to look at the market as a whole through comparable sales. If anyone has a question we have always encouraged people to come in and talk to us."
Page 2 of 2 - Pearce cited the same statute as Wallace to defend her position that she was not required to notify the owners by mail of the township factor.
The board also agreed to look into the purchase of a new phone system for the county, but tabled the decision to a later meeting. Clearwave is the proposed provider.