Column: Why is your assessed value so high? Find out

• Originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on March 20, 2009

These days, many are wondering why the assessed value of their property is going up while the market value of that same property is trending down.

And a lot of that blame is thrown the way of township assessors.

Why are assessed values up, and what exactly does the assessor do?

You very well might find out the answer to these questions and more as a township assessor forum is being held from 7 to 9 p.m. today in the auditorium of Building A of the Kane County Government Center, 719 S. Batavia Ave., in Geneva.

The forum is being hosted by Ellen Nottke, chairman of the Batavia Township Republican Organization, who rented out the space and contacted local newspapers to ask questions at the forum.

Some certainly could wonder about fairness because of her position, but Nottke makes no qualms about who she is supporting.

“I support Republican candidates all the time,” Nottke said.

But this goes beyond supporting a party, she said,

“I came up with the idea because I live in the township and I’m more concerned about what happens in my township races than in the city,” Nottke said. “The township races are important, and in most of the Tri-Cities they are contested.

“I just want the word out about the Republican candidate and the other candidates out there.”

Unsurprisingly to most people, the township assessor races have been quite interesting this year. In Blackberry, Geneva, St. Charles and Batavia townships, the race is contested.

All of the candidates agreed to attend to the forum and the forum will follow ground rules suggested by The Chronicle.

Those at the forum include Gary Fritz and Denise Lacure of Geneva Township, Colleen Lang and Charles Ingersoll of St. Charles Township and Tammy Kavanaugh and Helen “Sue” Krol of Batavia Township.

“Somebody has to get the message out to the people,” Nottke said.

Kane County Assessor Mark Armstrong will moderate the forum and the questions will be asked by representatives of local newspapers, including myself.

Each candidate will be given two minutes for both their opening statement and closing statement. In between, there will be six questions asked by a newspaper of all candidates, and each will be given two minutes to respond. There will be no rebuttal, but candidates may respond to previous statements with the next question or in their closing statement.

The forum will be considered completely on the record, open and public. Campaign literature will be available outside of the auditorium, but none will be allowed inside.

In the end, the assessor race should never come down to whether a candidate is Republican, Democrat or independent, but rather their ability to be a good township assessor. Hopefully, today’s forum will give you a clearer idea of that.

Or, at the very least, let you know why your assessed value still is going up.

Joe Grace is the editor of the Chronicle. Write to him at jgrace@kcchronicle.com or call him at 630-845-5368.

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