Where are the assessments?

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The Republic-Times has received numerous questions from county citizens asking if they had missed the annual publication of property assessments. Others noted they had not received theirs in the mail.

Monroe County Assessor Carl Wuertz said he thinks assessments will be completed by the end of April.

Wuertz acknowledged this is later than normal but cited personnel shortfalls in his department as reasons.

“We’ve had two retirements in the last year, as well as two extended medical absences involving experienced personnel,” he said. “We have filled the two retiree positions, but they are new to the work.”

Wuertz said about one-fourth of the county is reassessed every year, with districts 7 and 8 being the focus this year. These areas include all of Waterloo, as well as considerable areas west of the city and east to the county line-roughly from Hanover Road in the north to Route 156 on the southern edge.

There are several steps remaining before revenue from the assessments begins to roll into local taxing communities and schools that rely on the money to operate.

They include a 30-day period for individuals to appeal their assessments, followed by a period of response by the Board of Review. The state of Illinois also requires a period to review the overall county assessment to approve or modify the final multiplier, which is a factor to ensure equal taxation across county lines.

Next, the total amount of the assessments must be apportioned among the various taxation entities such as school districts, roads and highways, law enforcement and other functions.
Finally, individual tax bills have to be printed and mailed to property owners.

Monroe County Treasurer Kevin Koenigstein said the delay in assessment is especially challenging for school districts, which start the year in early August but will not begin to see the first round of tax monies until September at the earliest and the second round a month later.

Waterloo School District Superintendent Brian Charron described some issues these delayed payments cause schools.  He noted that bills for insurance, utilities, food for cafeterias and more must be paid when they are due, and that historically tax revenues have arrived in July.

If the money does not come at that time, schools that are fortunate to have reserves will have to dip into them, or even cash out investments and forfeit interest on those investments. He noted the Waterloo district has some reserves and investments, and that some 76 percent of the district’s operating expenses are funded from property taxes.

The Republic-Times will publish the entire tax assessment listing for the county as soon as it is received.  Residents should look for their tax bills by first class mail about that same time.

In other fiscal news:
The Waterloo Community Unit School District Board of Education will hold a public hearing regarding its amended budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year during next Monday’s board meeting.

A motion was passed during the board’s Feb. 22 meeting to hold the public hearing. In addition, the board voted in favor of making the budget available for public inspection 30 days prior to and up to the day before the hearing.

The board meets the third Monday of every month at 7 p.m. at Gardner Elementary School.

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