County Releases Assessment Quality Statistics

Assessors use something called a “Coefficient of Dispersion” to measure the quality of assessments.

It’s something like the margin of error used in political polls.

The McHenry County Supervisor of Assessments has provided the following data from 2015.  This is the most recent analysis available.

The lower the number, the more equal or uniform are the assessments.

Compare the results for each township with the County’s 19.30% Coefficient of Dispersion.

ALDEN 25.28
HEBRON 25.28
BURTON 19.11
DUNHAM 25.28
HARTLAND (07) 25.28
SENECA 25.28
DORR 18.11
NUNDA 18.64
RILEY 25.28
CORAL 25.28

As one can see, the most uniform assessments are in Grafton Township, where Al Zielinski is Assessor and the margin of error is 11.5%.

Next best is Algonquin Township, where retiring Bob Kunz is Assessor. His margin of error is 15.15%.

You will note that generally the higher a township’s population, the more uniform the assessments.

Current Township Assessors are

  • Alden Township – Constance Jones
  • Algonquin Township – Robert Kunz
  • Burton Township -Jessica Huber
  • Chemung Township – Doug Hawthorne
  • Coral Township – Rich Kaszniak
  • Dorr Township – Veronica A Myers
  • Dunham Township – Geri Alten
  • Grafton Township – Alan Zielinski
  • Greenwood Township – Karen D. Roth
  • Hartland Township – Mike Crouse
  • Hebron Township – Tracie VonBergen
  • Marengo Township – Jon Klick
  • McHenry Township – Mary Mahady
  • Nunda Township – Mark Dzemske
  • Richmond Township – Patricia O’Neill
  • Riley Township – Tammy Benitez
  • Seneca Township – Paul Bockman

Township Assessors are up for election this spring.

A contested GOP primary is being held only in Nunda Township.

No one is on the ballot in Grafton Township, but incumbent Al Zielinski is running a write-in campaign.

The primary ballots may be found here.


County Releases Assessment Quality Statistics — 18 Comments

  1. My suspicion is that the more new developments, the lower the coefficient is (i.e. they can assess a Ryan Homes neighborhood en masse, but a 100 year old neighborhood requires more scrutiny).

  2. Well we know LAZ is reading this so I’ll ask the same question he never bothered to answer….

    9425 Turnberry, PIN number 18-11-255-001. That was a lakefront house valued at $462k in 2013, yet the hyper accurate methods dropped it nearly $82,000 in your “legal reassessment” to $380k.

    Then for the quadrennial, you raised the same house to $486k, a $100k+ increase after an 80k decrease.

    How does one lakefront house drop nearly 20% and then rise almost 30% in less than two years?!?

    Again, it’s across from Zielinski’s declared address. And there are examples of this throughout the township.

  3. 2015 was the start of the quadrennial and all parcels were assessed.

    I’ll stand by the county’s number which is an undisputed fact regarding our record of accurately and fairly assessing almost 22,000 diverse parcels.

    In 2014, Grafton also had the lowest CoD for McHenry County when we made more than 15,000 modifications.

    Grafton’s residential properties are very diverse and include 100+ year-old dwellings on multi-acre parcels, condos and duplexes on common land and a myriad of new and old subdivisions.

    That’s why we created almost 100 neighborhoods to help ensure uniformity.

    Regarding some reader’s quest for “perfection,” the Illinois Supreme Court already addressed and resolved that in Apex Motor Fuel Co. v. Barrett:

    “A practical uniformity, rather than an absolute one, is the test.”

    Another one of those undisputed facts.

  4. Talk about a redundant layer of government.

    Can you name one function a township assessor does that is outside the scope of the state or chief county assessor?

    If you say “local” you are part of the problem.

  5. Al let’s talk facts,

    You’re implying that the extreme drops and raises of 9425 Turnberry, PIN # 18-11-255-001 was just some anomaly caused by the diverse homes you’re assessing.

    You lie.


    Three other homes on your cul-de-sac, Bonnie Ridge, got huge drops in your 2014 reassessment, then got raised again at the 2015 quadrennial.

    Some got drops as much as $97,000, only to be raised up as much as $91,000 a year later.

    18-11-255-003 – 7510 BonnieRidge – The 2013 Market Value, done by your predecessor, was $432k, and you dropped it a full $97,000 to $335k in 2014, then raised it to $424k (+$89k) in 2015 for the quadrennial. (We’re going by Market Values, not 1/3 assessed values, and before the county equalizer.)

    18-11-402-001 – 7516 BonnieRidge – 2013 Market Value: $391k, then it dropped to $314k (-$77k) in 2014, then raised to $399k (+$85k) in 2015.

    18-11-255-004 – 7512 BonnieRidge – 2013 Market Value was $442k, then dropped to $377k (-$65k) in 2014 and then raised to $467k (+91K) in 2015.

    So you have four homes out of 22 plots on your Cul-De-Sac, that had extreme drops of up to 22%, only to be raised as much as 32% in two years.

    And two other homes in your vicinity on Turnberry, 18-11-255-006 and 18-11-178-005 also had insane value swings from 2013 to 2015.

    That is not an anomaly, that is deliberate.

    Or incompetence.

    And why we think your adherence to a county rating is bunk.

    Or you’re hiding something.

    Hmmmm…wonder if LAZ had his own “good ol boy” network on his block until people started asking questions.

  6. Also, Mr. Zielinski, if you’re honest and fair why did you illegally destroy public documents?

    You see, Al threw a fit when the county dared change his numbers, so he sent complaints to the Governor (which he posted to his website) the IL Department of Revenue and the States Attorney’s office.

    The DOR and the States Attorney replied via letter and said you had nothing.

    And what did you do?


    Those are public documents.

    You broke the law. Could this have something to do with the fact these letters shoot down your “good ol boy” network theory?

    Even worse, a citizen had filed an FOIA on these letters, and the township would have been in violation, again, thanks to you.

    However, the Grafton FOI Officer was diligent and obtained copies from the respective offices.

    Those are posted here. (Don’t worry, it’s a .pdf link.)

    (Cal if these links don’t work you have been e-mailed the documents.)

    And here is a link to Grafton minutes showing how you admitted destroying the documents.

    Also it says in these minutes you tried to have some tax data deleted.

    WHY SO?


    (The township attorney stated THAT was illegal too.)

    Don’t say you ran out of hard drive space.

    You’re storing spreadsheets of data, not Pixar movies.

    You can get a Terabyte hard drive at Costco for nothing.

    And again, all of this is illegal.

    You can’t just disperse a thumbnail of facts that boost your candidacy Al, then attempt to withhold or destroy the rest. When the full truth is out, the real picture of the cancer you are becomes clear.

  7. Mr. Zielinski, while we’re on the topic of facts, let’s talk about dealing with your citizens.

    You stated on your website you championed a fair appeal system, and would even stand with your citizens in Board of Appeals.

    You are lying.

    Here, at a meeting on November 2014, (and it’s on the record in other statements), you have told residents NOT to appeal, or strongly discouraged it despite it being their right.

    The township attorney had to admonish you for that as well.

    (And why are you so absolute? At the end of day, an assessment is an opinion.)

    Also, a worried property owner states how he could not get ANY RETURNED CALLS at all to get clarification on an assessment, and finally got a letter after he complained to the county.

    You’re a real pro.

    Also, it says here you raised the assessment of a home to $1,000,000, then threatened that if the resident didn’t let you in his home, (?!?) you’d raise it to $1,300,000 on Board of Review appeal.

    And at that appeal you raised the assessment to that number.

    (Thankfully, this resident won his appeal.)

    Also…Question…if you’re so accurate, why did you attempt to buy appraisal software, as the minutes say above?

    Aren’t your valuations good enough?

    And like the Grafton board told you, it’s not about WINNING appeals.

    It’s not about having the best county stat.

    This is not a competition.

    This is about fairness.

    And quit throwing childlike tantrums when someone disagrees with you.

    Why are you still here?

  8. Let’s see, 4 parcels out of 22,000 = .00018.

    Pretty small sample size from which to draw any conclusion.

    Grafton’s voters will defer to the county’s and Department of Revenue’s determination of our accuracy on a township-wide basis.

    In a single attempt to address the data and statistically-challenged poster above, let’s talk facts.

    1. Fact: I did not create the 2013 assessments so cannot speak to their accuracy,

    2. Fact: 2014 involved cleaning the property database, establishing homogeneous neighborhoods, creating accurate site values for land and focusing on correcting aberrant neighborhood sales ratio and uniformity issues.

    3. Fact: in spite of having only one year of semi-accurate data, Grafton still the best accuracy of all McHenry Townships in 2014 even though we made more than 15,000 adjustments and other townships made perhaps 10% of that number of adjustments.

    4. Fact: because we finally had solid data with which to work, Grafton repeated its best of class accuracy in 2015.

    5. Fact: Grafton’s property owners have undeniable proof their assessments are the most accurate in McHenry County.

    6. Fact: we plan to continue to be the standard-bearer for accuracy and fairness in McHenry County.

  9. Fact: You failed to address how those homes swung so dramatically.

    And you were in charge of assessments in 2014 and 2015.

  10. Fact: 4 homes with crazy variations on a cul de sac of 18 homes.

    That’s just over 22% of homes on one block.

    And we already know another on that block that is underassessed. 😉

    If you were hyperaccurate there wouldn’t be that kind of variance in that small an area.

  11. Regardless of how much negative posting is done, the headline, county data and editor’s comment won’t change:

    “As one can see, the most uniform assessments are in Grafton Township, where Al Zielinski is Assessor and the margin of error is 11.5%.”

  12. Ali Z. : Shady back-door dealings with neighbors, illegal destroying of data, illegal destroying of documents, costs of attorney’s fees to cover your illegal activities, failure to be available to the people who elected you, lives your have impacted because of you assessed some properties way too high, the black eye you’ve given yourself because you assessed your own property way too low, making that office look like fools to the IL State’s Attorney, making that office look like fools to the IL Dept. of Revenue… the list goes on and on.

    What would you do differently the second time around?

  13. Regardless of how many lies are posted, the headline, county data and editor’s comment won’t change:

    “As one can see, the most uniform assessments are in Grafton Township, where Al Zielinski is Assessor and the margin of error is 11.5%.”

  14. Don’t live there, but don’t buy it.

    I would not vote for the current assessor.

  15. LAZ I love this.

    You go after just about every public body you come into contact with, including the township attorney, but when you’re called to the mat for very clear, very public, very factual unethical and unlawful actions you committed, you punt. Not that it surprised me.

    It’s what pathological liars do.

  16. Al Zielinski,

    Your statistical claim for uniform assessments is FALSE.

    You claim that because Grafton has the lowest Coefficient of Dispersion in the county, you are the best in the land.

    Well, the Grafton Coefficient of Dispersion HAS ALWAYS BEEN THAT LOW.

    In fact it was the lowest in McHenry County long before you, and that is because of the relatively new and uniform housing in Grafton township.

    We contacted the County to get the Coefficient of Dispersions for the years 2011 to 2015. (And a reminder, your predecessor was assessing from 2011 to 2013. )


    2011: 10.36
    2012: 13.70
    2013: 13.20
    2014: 13.29 (it actually goes up when you took over and reassessed.)
    2015: 11.51

    That’s right…they were always low.

    And in 2011 it was even lower than your current mark.

    Other townships that had higher numbers tended to stay at that level. (I’m posting the full spreadsheet in a minute.)

    And we also contacted a qualified assessor with 30 years assessment experience in Dupage County, one that was helpful in researching your shenanigans.

    He stated the following:

    “The Coefficient of dispersion is a good statistical tool to rate the quality of assessments but you also have to compare apples to apples. If the housing stock is mostly new subdivisions and very homogeneous then the coefficient of dispersion should be 10 or under according to the International Association of Assessing Officers. If the housing stock is older and nonhomogeneous then the COD should be 15 or lower according to the international Association of Assessing Officers. If you have any depressed areas in a township with lots of foreclosure sales the COD will be much higher. If you have a small parcel count with very few sales the COD will be much higher. In my opinion with the housing mix in your township the COD should be under 10.”

    That’s right.

    You should actually be LOWER.

    And it makes sense why Grafton would have a low number.

    A large portion of Grafton has relatively new and uniform housing, while other townships do not and thus have a higher rating.

    Del Webb is newer with similar structures and yard sizes.

    If you drive through most Huntley or LITH subdivisions, you see homes similar in scope.

    THAT is what drives the COD down, not the qualifications of the assessor.

    This is also likely why we haven’t seen any other qualified assessors use the COD to say they are accurate.

    I also gave pause, because the Grafton numbers were lower than Algonquin Township, where the retiring assessor is a long time pro with excellent credentials.

    So on my checklist, you have NO FACTS to support your claim that you are qualified to assess $1.4 billion in real estate.

    You take stats out of context so they will favor you. You’re horrible with your citizens.

    You keep awkward office hours and fail to return calls.

    You were so reckless with spending the Township took control of your budget except salaries.

    You broke FOI rules and laws.

    You cost the taxpayers thousands with a lawsuit.

    You won’t answer basic questions on how certain homes seem to get favoritism.

    You take potshots at every other public official you deal with, pout when they change your numbers, and never take ownership.

    I will ask this question again:


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