Ford Co. (ECWd) -
During the Ford County Board meeting last night numerous concerned citizens spoke about the property tax assessment issues currently plaguing the northern part of Ford County. One of those citizens provided us a copy of the Publication of the assessments, and it is a defective publication. Although not as bad as what we found in Coles County, there are defects that we believe would justify stopping the rolling of those taxes forward to the state.
The publication states that the valuations were based on sales from 2014-2016. That conflicts with her letter of February 12, of 2018 that states "since there were not enough valid sales in these towns, I put a formula together for this area."
So which is it, the valuation was based on sales or her formula she put together since there were not enough sales?
The law outlines the following that "shall" be in the publication:
- The name, address, phone number, office hours, and, if one exists, the website address of the assessor.
- The statement shall also (i) advise all taxpayers to contact the township assessor's office, in those counties under township organization, first to review the assessment, (ii) advise all taxpayers to file an appeal with the board of review if not satisfied with the assessor review, and (iii) give the phone number to call for a copy of the board of review rules; if the Board of Review maintains a web site, the notice must also include the address of the website where the Board of Review rules can be viewed.
- A statement advising the taxpayer that there is a deadline date for filing an appeal with the board of review and indicating that deadline date (30 days following the scheduled publication date).
- In bold type, a notice of possible eligibility for the various homestead exemptions as provided in Section 15-165 through Section 15-175 and Section 15-180.
The publication defects are as follows:
- "Questions about these valuations should be directed to: Patricia Langland, Ford County Chief County Assessment Officer, 200 w. State St, Paxton, IL 60957 217-379-9430 Hours 8:30- 4:30 PM." WRONG! The publication DOES NOT contain the required website address of the assessor (http://fordcounty.illinois.gov/supervisor-of-assessments/). The publication was void of mandatory information.
- "Contact your county assessor's office to review the assessment". WRONG! The law instructs the publication to advise taxpayers to contact the Township Assessors office first to review the assessment. The publication was void of the proper instruction.
- "If not satisfied with the assessor review, taxpayers may file a complaint with the Ford County Board of Review. Board of Review rules, complaint form and exemption applications are available at the Chief County Assessment Office located at 200 W State Street, room 104, Paxton, IL 60957." WRONG! The law instructs the phone number to call shall be provided for those rules. The publication was void of mandatory information.
- "The final filing deadline for your township is January 27, 2018." WRONG! The law instructs the deadline for filing an appeal with the Board of Review is 30 days from the date of publication. The publication was on December 27th, 2017. Thirty days from that date is January 26th, 2018. The published deadline for filing was incorrect and was not as the law instructs.
- "Your property may be eligible for homestead exemptions, which can reduce your property's taxable assessment." WRONG! The law instructs this particular portion of the publication to be in BOLD and it was not. The publication was void of the mandatory BOLD type.
An additional note of interest, the Supervisor's comment pertaining to her office not being open, which is yet another violation of the law, she stated she extended the filing deadline by three days because of her office was closed. So how is it that the SOA can arbitrarily violate one law and think violating another makes it OK?
In the publication it stated:
"After this date, the Board of Review is prohibited by law from accepting assessment complaints for properties in this county"
That published information reflects she knew the law prohibited accepting assessment complaints beyond the deadline, yet in the meeting, she confirms she violated the law by extending the deadline three days. Is that a willful violation of the law?
With these many failures of statutory obligations, we contend the County Board would best serve the taxpayers by recognizing this non-compliant publication as more than sufficient evidence to declare it void and simply implement the previous year assessments as if none were ever done this year.
Will the Ford County Board and their Supervisor of Assessments do what is right on behalf of the Taxpayers?
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