Where Are the Best Assessors?

I remember when I was following the quality of real estate assessments more closely that a margin of error of 10% for an assessor in Illinois was excellent.

Algonquin Township Assessor Bob Kunz, first elected in 1977, consistently did that well.

Even with a margin of error of 10%, however, people’s assessments could vary enough that would result in loud disagreements at the checkout counter if sales taxes were administered the same way.

Think of a sales tax rate of 5%. (I know that’s history, but the number for the example work better than with Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley’s 75% city sales tax hike included.)

If there were a margin of error of 10% that means three people standing in line buying $100 worth of stuff could pay sales taxes of

5.0% or

That would be OK with the tax man because he would get $15, the same he would if everyone paid 5%.

Let’s play the same game with a $1,000 property tax bill. (Does anyone have one that “low” today?)

With a 10% margin of error and people with the same valued home, the first would pay $900, the second $1,000 and the third $1,100.

That’s how bad a good assessor distributes the property tax burden.

While Algonquin Township’s long-time Assessor Bob Kunz is still in the 10% range (10.24% margin or error in the latest year–2006–for which statistics are available), I see two others did a better job.

Bill Ottley, Grafton Township Assessor, had the lowest margin of error in McHenry County—6.84%.

Behind was Dorr Township Assessor Kelli Myers was at 9.82%.

The margins of error of the other township assessors were all under 17%.

Quite an improvement over what I remember from the 1970’s.

You may think that McHenry County’s average margin of error of 11.14% is too high, but how would you like to live in a county with a margin of error over 40%?

You could if you lived in the following counties:

  • Clay – 46%
  • Fayette – 40%
  • Franklin – 43%
  • Greene – 48%
  • Hardin – 101%
  • Lawrence – 42%
  • Marshall – 53%
  • Montgomery – 43%
  • Pope – 54%
  • Scott – 44%
  • Wayne – 43%
  • White – 46%

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