PRIORITY ISSUES


1. Dissolve the formation and execution of the Assessment Defense Fund. It is borderline unlawful and absolutely unethical. The fund's original objective was to have financial means available to the County Board of Review and/or Assessor to oppose commercial and industrial owners requesting a "large reduction". Then, the purpose was rewritten to include commercial and industrial owners requesting a $100,000 or more EAV reduction... then amended to incorporate commercial, industrial, and residential requesting a $100,000 or more EAV reduction... then redefined to incorporate any owner with an aggregate total of a $100,000 or more EAV reduction... then narrowed down to the broad scale clause that reads "IF" the $100,000 or more EAV reduction could set precedence or create a domino effect. Case Point: Taxpayer money should not be used by any taxing body to defend the Assessor's value in order to prevail against the taxpayer's own assessment appeal. The incumbent supports the Assessment Defense Fund and I oppose it.


2. Thwart all efforts of community leaders and legislators who plan to rewrite the property tax code to include the application of Cook County assessment practices in counties outside of Cook, specifically retail valuation or "big box" stores. Cook county in short has their own tax code and all other counties have another. It is not a taxpayer benefit to mirror Cook county real estate valuation for the purpose of taxing it. The incumbent supports Cook county retail valuation and I oppose it.


3. Amend the statutory level of assessment to 100% of fair cash value in counties outside of Cook so that the tax rate is immediately lowered by .3333 of what it is now. For instance, Winnebago County Tax Code 001 would go from a tax rate of 15.2963 to 5.0986. Tax dollars paid by real estate owners are not affected. Only the level of assessment and tax rate is affected, as well as adjusting homestead exemption amounts to increase them by the same level of .3333. Illinois is one of the few states that does NOT have an assessment level equal to 100% of fair market value. 


4. Cease the creation of and put an end to the execution of all Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) that relate to the Assessment Defense Fund or fall under the same umbrella. IGAs are needed to allow taxing districts to join forces and cooperate together. The Assessment Defense Fund should not exist in the first place. The incumbent supports the Assessment Fund's IGA and I oppose it.


5. Stop the organization of a taxing body based committee to oversee and ensure "fair" assessment practices. The fair assurance committee is created and managed by the Assessment Defense Fund Committee and/or Chair. I don't trust taxing bodies overseeing a committee that is formed to ensure fair assessment practices while it's parent committee is devoted to the cessation of decreased assessments at the State or County level. It is borderline unlawful and absolutely unethical. The incumbent supports the fair assessment committee organized by the Assessment Fund and I oppose it.

However, if it is truly a desire of the public to have a third party entity investigate assessment practices, I am not against it. I propose a committee be formed by outside successful business men and women, respected analysts, and those keenly knowledgeable about the Property Tax Code and Assessment Standards. I believe the committee ought to be led and managed by the Illinois Association of REALTORS® RVoice program. The committee should NOT be managed by taxing bodies. I also believe it should consist of volunteers only and volunteers who do not pay property taxes into the subject jurisdiction. 


6. Partner with lawmakers and discuss a 4 year assessment increase freeze, similar to the Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze, during the next Quadrennial (2019-2022) on all real estate in counties other than Cook, with the exception of new real estate, omitted real estate, State valued real estate, or improvements to existing residential, commercial, or industrial real estate buildings.


7. Work with legislators and consider a commercial and industrial improvement exemption that is similar to the residential home improvement exemption.

• The exemption defers, for four years, any increase in the assessment due to an addition or other improvement for which the Township Assessor would add value.

• During the four year period the exemption is in place, the added value is deducted from the assessed value. Year five, the property is taxed at 100% of value.

• A maximum dollar amount of assessed value may be deferred per year, up to a maximum limit. The residential maximum yearly limit is $25,000 in assessed value or $75,000 fair market value. Commercial and Industrial would be higher value than residential.

• The exemption is not granted until the completion of the improvement(s).

• While under construction, no value is added, until completion.

• The exemption can also be used for repair necessitated by structural damage as a result of severe weather conditions, such as natural disasters.

Items that do NOT qualify include standard maintenance of wear and tear, but are not limited to:

• Repair or replace roofing materials, sidewalks, driveways, or fencing

• Insulate and/or add storm windows and doors

• Add or replace gutters and downspouts

• Place siding over existing frame structure

• Add or improve trees, lawns, and landscaping

• Paint, decorate, plaster, or change exterior ornamentations

• Replace heating or cooling systems

• Replace flooring or fixtures

• Replace or add water softener/hot water heater

• Add outdoor lighting, burglar, or fire alarms

• Replace electrical systems or plumbing fixtures

• Install above ground swimming pool or outdoor playground facilities

• Add aluminum soffit and fascia


8. Remove from the Homebuyer’s Property Tax Refund Program the language that requires owners to waive their right to appeal their assessment so long as they are receiving money from a participating taxing body. No taxpayer should be required to waive the right to an assessment appeal in exchange for cash. The incumbent supports the language of waiving the right to appeal and I oppose it.


9. Create a pool of resources so that taxpayers have a knowledgeable go to entity in addition to the Assessor’s office. I am currently preparing Real Estate CE courses and will apply for a Real Estate CE Instructor’s License so that REALTORS® can be educated when it comes to valuation of real estate for the purpose of taxing it. I invite attorneys and appraisers to also get involved as well as local community programs. Education is key. There is not enough education nor exposure about the assessment process, which is a disadvantage to the taxpayer.  The incumbent opposes a knowledgeable go to entity to aid you with an assessment appeal and I support it.


10. Propose a partnership with the Illinois Association of REALTORS® RVoice Program to educate buyers and sellers, and all real estate owners, how to understand an assessment, how to appeal it, and be certain owners are receiving all qualifying tax exemptions. The incumbent opposes exhaustive education and going into the community to keep you informed and I support it.


11. Apply computer assisted mass appraisal to every category of real estate within Rockford Township.  Never in the history of Rockford Township Assessing has computer assisted mass appraisal been the standard for commercial nor industrial building valuation. That is a major issue.  The incumbent opposes both the Illinois Property Tax Code standard of mass appraisal and computer-assisted mass appraisal for ALL real estate... I support it.


12. Last but not least, end the changes of individual values based on subjective opinion. Specifically, stop the practice of individual increases and decreases and get back to mass appraisal. When the Assessor performs an individual valuation the property record card notes section will most likely contain an explanation that reads "...to equalize". Do not be misled. The Department of Revenue explains that "equalization is the application of a uniform percentage increase or decrease to assessed values of various areas or classes of property to bring assessment levels, on average, to a uniform level." 


When the incumbent "equalizes", his definition of equalization equals an arbitrary value change that is at a level higher or lower than other similar properties in the neighborhood and the individual percentage change is NOT uniform to any other parcel like it. The incumbent supports the practice of individual appraising, I oppose it.