Franks Wants to Abolish Township Assessors

As something of an afterthought in a Northwest Herald article flattering McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks, the top local Democrat siad the following:

“Our assessors should be centralized instead of having all of these different ones throughout the county it should just be one. I think that way it would be much more uniform…we shouldn’t be treating any of our citizens differently.”

Of course, the law regarding assessment is the same in all of McHenry County’s townships.

One-third of market value, as defined by a three-year average.

Again, I apologize for agreeing to the three-year average.

I was on the Conference Committee that set the standard after the 1970 Stat Constitution gave the legislature that power.

The impetus came from the Illinois Agriculture Association, which pointed out that a recreational development (Galena Territory) in Jo Daviess County had driven up farm prices to unnatural levels.

So, instead of a one-year average that human beings could understand, the statute set a three-year average.

There is nothing conceptually wrong with a county assessor doing all the assessments, but history in McHenry County tells us that sometimes one needs a strong township assessor to protect local taxpayers from the wrath of county government.

During the term of Algonquin Township Assessor Forrest B. Hare, it was discovered that property owners in this southeaserntmost part of McHenry County was assessed much higher than the rest of the county.

In particular, buyers of new homes were assessed way higher than the county average. (They were at 60% of market value, while two sales ratio studies I conducted while County Treasurer showed the county average at 42.4%.)

Scuttlebutt at the county indicated that the reason was because people moving into Algonquin Township were the cause of the county’s problems and they deserved to be punished.

Hare provided that protection against the County Supervisor of Assessments.

Decentralization of power is one of the aspects of American government I hold most dearly.

Since the Supervisor of Assessments is appointed by the County Board Chairman, elimination of township assessors would place more power in the hands of that office.

And, how powerful can an assessor be.

Back until the early 1950’s Illinois County Treasurers were also in charge of assessing property.

At one of my first Illinois County Treasurers Association meetings, I learned from one of the older guys that the legislature had created the office of Supervisor of Assessments to take that power from Treasurer.

It was considered a reform measure.

The quip that I shall always remember came from when I asked why Treasurers and Sheriffs were limited to one term by the 1870 Stat Constitution. (They could run more than once, but not consequentially.)

The Constitutional fathers “figured if you couldn’t get rich in one term as Treasurer or Sheriff, you were too stupid to hold the job.”


Franks Wants to Abolish Township Assessors — 14 Comments

  1. Yet Herr Franks doesn’t want to comply with a court order and in contempt!

    When does the legal system abolish him?

  2. You can really tell it’s an election year if you look at what Pat and Jack have been doing lately.

  3. Franks = Pritzker alter ego = divide, conquer, control and destroy Illinois, one County at time.

    We need to get behind Mike Buehler now to save our homes and our jobs and put McHenry County back in the hands of the people.

    Every vote for Mike can make this happen, Emphasis – EVERY VOTE

  4. Republican Kay Bates she is a Republican?

    Or was that just a move on her part to get elected?

  5. “…history in McHenry County tells us that sometimes one needs a strong township assessor to protect local taxpayers from the wrath of county government”

    OK, then what protects the citizens from the idiocy of township assessors like Al Zielinki?

    He is sales chasing, and that has caused taxing inequities.

    Some of his neighborhoods and equations make no sense.

    When he was double dipping as Boone County Assessor, he screwed the numbers up so bad the state had to apply an equalizer…something that hadn’t been done in 20 years.

    For the 2019 Quadrennial, some saw steep increases in their assessments, one was 400%, while his waterfront plot across from a golf course is pretty much at the same level it was in 2015.

  6. Indiana did that over ten years ago and saved a ton.

    Just bc Franks is a rat doesn’t make this epic cost cutting move bad.

    My old Assessor Jakala (Nunda) used to say this position and all his staff could be eliminated by Zillow.

  7. If you don’t get rid of that power hungry POS in Grafton there will be a revolt.

    Time for Big Al to ride off into the sunset while he still has his arce attached.

  8. I like being able to VOTE OUT the local Tax Assessor.

    Exchange that right for a Jack Franks-appointed “County Assessor” who is unaccountable to taxpayers and untouchable by voters?

    Nice cushy patronage job for yet another of Jack Franks’ cronies?

    Yeah, we REALLY need that…

  9. Just his way of trying to deflect the fact the most of the County was shell shocked upon receipt of their recent tax bills.

    A ridiculous solution.

    Just his way of passing the blame without accountability.

    Anything to make himself look good during an election year.

  10. Williams, wake up! Franks will be soon gone, but the township leeches will still be here.

    Indiana axed almost all township assessors a decade ago. (13 out of over 1000 still exist because those those are in heavily black townships, who apparently need incompetent loafers)

    17 counties in Illinois got rid of them 80 years ago and and are doing just fine!

    Think of all the pension piglets that will be axed.

  11. Wake up, Goochie.

    It’s a scam.

    Even David McSweeney’s law allowing Township dissolution referendums in McHenry County…HANDS THE “DISSOLVED” TOWNSHIP’s TAX DOLLARS TO THE COUNTY (9/10 of the Township’s TWO PERCENT of your tax bill amount).

    Tax Assessors should always have to answer to the voters.

    Ask Texas how they’re doing with non-elected County Assessors:

  12. Robert Williams apparently never saw a township in Operation. Total parasites!

  13. I though townships were good.

    Then I started reading what they did.

  14. Oh, I get it, you’re an Emperor Jack Franks partisan.

    It really would be more “efficient” and “cost-effective” if only the County Board Chairman ruled ALL, right..?

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