For the third consecutive year, Will County homeowners will see a reduction in the assessed value of their houses.
Will County Supervisor of Assessments Rhonda Novak announced Wednesday that assessments are down an average of 6.44 countywide due to the continued effects of the housing slump.
In Plainfield Township, Assessor Erin Kljaich said assessments are down an average of 6 percent.
“It’s really important to note that it’s not 6 percent across the board,” Kljaich added, saying some pockets of Plainfield Township will see even greater reductions.
The decline can be attributed to the collapse of the housing market that started in 2008, resulting in a large number of foreclosures, a deflated demand for new housing, a drop in the amount for which houses were being sold and increased difficulty in getting mortgage financing.
Property assessments are determined by the amount houses sold for in the previous three years. In 2012, those years would have been 2009, 2010 and 2011, Novak said.
According to Kljaich, 2008 was the last year home prices were on the rise. With the slump in full swing by 2009, prices began to level off, dropping by 6 to 7 percent in both 2010 and 2011.
But a drop in your home’s value doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see a drop in your property taxes.
“That’s a huge question a lot of people are asking,” said Kljaich, who even has a section of her website dedicated to explaining the topic.
“The tax rate is set by the county, and it’s based on the levies requested by governing bodies,” she said.
Despite budget cuts, some taxing bodies have had to increase their levies, thereby increasing the tax rate, in order to maintain funding for operations and services, Kljaich said.
That means that your tax bill could stay the same or go up, even as your property value goes down.
For example, District 202 raised its tax rate from 4.86 cents per $100 of assessed valuation in 2010 to 5.27 cents per $100 assessed valuation in 2011. This would be applied to tax bills paid in 2012.
“If [taxing bodies] continue to ask for more money than the previous year, your tax rate increase is going to be greater than your decrease in assessment,” Kljaich said.
Someone's tax bill is also determined by the taxing districts in which their house is located. For example, while Joliet's fire and library expenses are included in the taxes that are paid to city, has independent and districts -- each of which sets their own tax rate. It's possible those two taxing bodies could set rates higher than what might have been paid were they included under a municipal government umbrella.
It's also possible there are taxing bodies whose district encompasses one part of town but not another. Two evenly matched houses next door to each other -- one in the district, and the other not -- could pay different amounts in taxes as a result.
Property owners should receive by mail a statement notifying them of their house's new assessed value next week. If someone wants to appeal their assessment with the county's board of review, they have until Sept. 10 to do so.
For more information, go to www.willcountysoa.com. Plainfield Township residents can call 815-436-5110.