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May 25, 2024

Coles County -Insufficient reporting keeps citizens in the dark – Part II

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On August 6, 2018

Coles Co. (ECWd) –

As promised, Part II of what looks like will be a five-part series. See Part I at this link.

August 3, 2018 Article – “CHARLESTON — Coles County’s commercial and industrial property reassessment is now past its halfway stage, with property owners in two parts of the county paying taxes based on their properties’ new values.”

Paying taxes based on their properties new values?  Never mind the fact that people are fighting to have those values properly established and validated after improper and inaccurate assessments missed their mark by as much as a Million Dollars.

August 3, 2018 Article – “What began with questions about increased property values in the project’s early stages evolved into an organized effort that’s included legal action against the county.”

The questions that began this mess was not about increased property values. It was about not assessing the whole county as was required by law.  That action is the crux of the Federal Lawsuit, not property values. When only one township was assessed it established an unequal protection of the law under the Fourteenth Ammendment as other townships utilize the same services of the one hit with the tax increase, thus they get a free ride on the backs of Mattoon Township.

August 3, 2018 Article – “The lawsuits, at both the county and federal level, are pending and haven’t stopped the process, which county officials say has taken place properly.”

Taken Place Properly?  Fact – The law was not followed to include the use of a font so small in the publishing of the information that they acknowledged they violated the law in that regard, only to complain that it cost them more money to do it right the following year.  It was not proper to contract a private appraiser to do the job of the Supervisor of Assessments.  For the paper to report the county officials “say” the process has taken place properly without challenging them with key facts that disprove the claim is why people continue to cancel subscriptions to their local paper.

August 3, 2018 Article –  “The reassessment placed the value at just more than $1.5 million but the Board of Review reduced it to just more than $522,000, according to county records. Yost described the process that led to the change as “how it’s supposed to be.”

No, that is not how it’s supposed to be Mr. Yost.  No one should have their property assessment miss the mark by $1 Million Dollars.  More importantly, the person doing the assessment was not legally hired to do it in the first place so how on earth is that “how it’s supposed to be”?

August 3, 2018 Article – “Biddle, who worked in the assessment office for 30 years before becoming supervisor, said her predecessors worked to varying degrees to update the values, a process which is supposed to take place once every four years.”

“That didn’t happen, though, leaving the same taxing values in place since a 2001 countywide reassessment, she said.”

So a County Employee working in the office for 30 years says nothing about the law not being followed?  As far as leaving the same taxing values in place since 2001 there is one important fact they failed to report.  The County SOA office signed a document every year reporting to the Illinois Department of Revenue that those assessments are true and accurate.  So if they were NOT true and accurate as they imply now, did they lie to the Department of Revenue since 2001?

August 3, 2018 Article –“I feel like I’m doing the job I’m supposed to be doing,” Biddle said of initiating the project.”

The public really doesn’t care how you feel.  They care about the law being followed and it’s clear the SOA has known the law was not followed while still collecting a public paycheck and doing nothing to shine the light on a problem.  Then, when in charge and in a position to do something, submits payroll for a person to get paid $1306.62 for not even working any hours and then pays the same person to consult with the Board of Review, which the State’s Attorney has confirmed should not have happened.  How can this person “feel” like they are doing the job they are supposed to?  Or, is this a case of she is doing excatly what the County Board is “telling” her to do?

Stay Tuned for Part III

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1 Comment
  • Blake
    Posted at 06:33h, 07 August Reply

    I was just pondering why the board would not just take your advice,throw out the assessments, and rule that Mr. Becker was not properly hired. It cant be for the sake of their careers because I would assume they know they are all going to be voted out of office anyway. The only thing I could come up with is that they must know that if and when it goes to trial that Mr. Becker is going to be forced to testify and he is going to talk about private conversations he had with the board about over pricing these properties. They are simply kicking the can down the road until the next board can step in and do it for them thus ending the lawsuit. However this also appears to be faulty logic because a logical next step would be to attempt to reclaim all the money he was paid as not being valid which would then lead to a lawsuit from Mr. Becker with similar testimony coming out. Just food for thought would love to hear your theories John and Kirk.

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