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What the hot housing market could mean for your home's assessed value — and tax bill

Tim Jorczak
Ryan Denham
Tim Jorczak became McLean County’s supervisor of assessments earlier this year.

McLean County’s new supervisor of assessments says the hot housing market means more people might have questions about how their homes are being assessed this year.

Tim Jorczak has been on the job about six months. He stepped into the position at a wild time in the McLean County housing market, where new demand from Rivian employees and others are piling into a community that’s historically been buoyed by State Farm, Country Financial, and Illinois State University employees. That’s driven property values up.

“We’re seeing some real growth, and that’s not a secret to anybody. That growth needs to be reflected by virtue of what we do in your assessed value. And so, because of the nature of and amount of these increases that we’re putting out there, I knew it was going to lead to a lot of questions,” Jorczak said.

So last month, Jorczak began hosting a series of public information sessions to help educate the public and answer questions about the assessment process. Representatives from the township offices and county treasurer and county clerk’s offices also were on hand to answer questions.

A homeowner’s assessed value is a key ingredient in what determines your property tax bill, along with how much money local taxing bodies (like school districts and city governments) decide they need to operate. As Jorczak likes to say, your assessed value and tax bill are “two related but fundamentally different things.”

There are misconceptions and misunderstandings, he said, and the process can appear pretty opaque at times.

“In Money Creek Township, let’s say they’re going up 5.5% this year. They’re getting a 5.5% increase. That doesn’t necessarily mean your tax bill is going to go up 5.5%. That just means it takes a 5.5% factor to bring your assessed value up to market value. What happens on the back end of that, with tax bills, is now going to be based on spending decisions that will be made by local units of government,” he said.

Jorczak said his team is not sure if rising property values will prompt more people to contest (appeal) their assessed value. That’s historically been hard to predict, he said. It’s possible people will just assume their assessed value will be going up given the housing market, or maybe not.

Appeals can be made to the county’s Board of Review this fall. Deadlines are posted online, based on which township you live in.

“When you get that assessment notice (in the mail), it’s going to have on there what we project the fair cash value of your property to be," said Jorczak. "The first question you should ask yourself is, does the fair cash value of that property reflect what I think I could sell that property for right now? That’s the first big question. If (the) answer to that is no … then yeah, you should file a complaint with the county Board of Review.”

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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