Anonymous Supporter of Grafton Township Assessor Bill Ottley Takes on Challenger Al Zielinski, Al Replies

Bill Ottley’s secret admirer provides this criticism on Al Zielinski’s opposition to Ottley for Grafton Township Assessor in the First Electric Newspaper:

September 1, 2012 4:00 PM
Anonymous said…

Assessor Bill Ottley

The current Assessor, Mr. Ottley, has been doing a great job for years. He is one of the most aggressive assessors around when reducing assessments during this economy.That is why Grafton Township was the only township in McHenry County to receive a positive multiplier last year from the County Assessor.

Mr. Ottley has, and will continue to support Grafton residents as our assessor.

Mr Zielinski does appear to have have a solid background for appraisals, but he has no experience with mass assessments, and I have seen nothing to say he has done any commercial assessing. You can not “appraise” 21,000 properties a year using his appraiser techniques, you could not afford to budget the man power needed to do that many properties individually. You will also NEVER have zero appeals. If you lower assessments to make us tax payers happy, the county adds a multiplier. Either way, some people will file an appeal to look for a further reduction of taxes.

To say that you will have no appeals… shows Mr. Zielinski does not fully understand the actual job of the assessor.

I would feel better, if he worked as a Deputy Assessor somewhere first, and really understood what job he is trying to win.

September 4, 2012 9:30 AM
Anonymous said…

Mr. Ottley wasn’t at my appeal he left it to his deputy who sided with the appeal board. I would expect the guy I elected to be present at my appeal but Ottley choose to leave it to his chubby little minion.

This year the county made me an assesment offer NOT OTTLEY! Ottley should work a little harder at that 60K job of his and not give so much authority to his deputy.

Al Zielinski’s reply:

Al Zielinski

Grafton residents have had their fill of acrimony so I requested civility at the Special Meeting and spoke in that tone.That professionalism continues by my running a clean, courteous campaign.

In that same context, all postings here and elsewhere have been personally made by me, never by unnamed surrogates.

I personally wrote the press release announcing my candidacy and created my own web site. It’s important that voters see the candidate as deeply and in as many varied lights as possible.

Grafton residents have also had their fill of partial truths so my campaign will correct misrepresentations with clearly-cited data sources.

I never said a single word to Ms. Moore at the Special Meeting.

If you have proof to the contrary, please provide it.

Competent appraisers always have plenty of work regardless of the real estate market because our opinions are sought beyond the mortgage industry.

My clients includes attorneys for estates and divorces, appraisal reviews, expert witness testimony, employee relocation, home improvement guidance, federal, state and property tax issues, etc.

The core of my campaign is bringing a courteous, qualified and professional presence to the assessor’s office.

Beyond that are innovative, taxpayer-centric ideas like a Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

Finally, I promise to save taxpayer’s money by reducing the bloated, recently approved assessor’s budget of almost $576,000!. (Source: Grafton Township Special Board Meeting Minutes, April 23, 2012.)


Comments

Anonymous Supporter of Grafton Township Assessor Bill Ottley Takes on Challenger Al Zielinski, Al Replies — 7 Comments

  1. The assessor can not attend every hearing, the county schedules multiple hearings at the same time for the same townships.

    Deputy Assessors have to attend hearings on behalf of the assessors office.

    It is interestesing that you decided to copy the “extra” comment, about Ottley not attending someones hearing.

    Looks like a biased opinion. Perhaps you should just direct people to the source and let them read all of the comments, not just your hand picked few.

  2. Mark, thank you for your interest.

    I hope others will eventually share your and my quest for data and detail.

    Source & proof:
    The last line of my response in the above article.

    Specifics:
    Approximately $8,000 was for “Line items not listed here were left unchanged” so no comment can be made regarding those.
    However, why not just list everything for transparency?

    Here’s my initial analysis based on starting several businesses and being forced to squeeze dimes out of nickels (and sometimes pennies).

    Ledger category, approved budget amount, my comment.
    Equipment, $8,000: seems high
    Office Renovation, $15,000: we can live with what we have.
    Office Supplies, $7,500: $625 per month?? That’s almost $30 per day!!
    Maintenance Service, $7,000: seems high
    Telephone, $4,000: $300+/month?? Switch to broadband.
    Legal, $20,000: I’ll make it zero; no need to sue, just talk!
    Outside Appraiser: $7,000: zero, no need, I am one!
    Equipment, $8,000: seems high.
    Travel Expense, $8,000: to where and why?
    Training, $3,600: only if required by law.
    Uniforms, $500: nope, everybody buys their own. Not so much the amount but the philosophy.

    Salaries are $340,000 and warrant a specific, in-depth analysis.
    I can/will promise that no relative of mine will ever be included in the salary.

    That’s adequate for now.
    $576,000 for the 20,825 parcels in Grafton Township = $30 each.
    That seems high for a primarily computer-generated value.

    As we get closer to the primary, I’ll have a line-by-line comparison with nearby townships that have similar parcel compositions.

  3. Slow day in Cal’s world if he has to resort to building blog entries based on comments posted behind news stories.

    Sounds like a story idea for The Onion.

  4. “LuvLuvLinda says:
    09/06/2012 at 6:54 pm

    Slow day in Cal’s world if he has to resort to building blog entries based on comments posted behind news stories.

    Sounds like a story idea for The Onion.”

    As usual, another nasty comment from LLL.

    It gets pretty old and makes you wonder if the person is looking for a fight, or gets high on his or her ability to be consistently nasty and anonmous.

    It also makes the person’s opinion lack any credibility.

  5. Mr. Zielinski – Do you have any proof these numbers are “high” or could it be that they are needed funds to do the job?

    COPIED FROM YOUR POST to show my responses: marked with ****

    Specifics:
    Approximately $8,000 was for “Line items not listed here were left unchanged” so no comment can be made regarding those.
    However, why not just list everything for transparency? *****Is this like the slush fund or misc. expenses that most budgets have built in to cover unexpected items? Is $8,000 a lot for a half million dollar overall budget as you stated? I think it would be reasonable. It’s only 1.6% of $500,000.

    Equipment, $8,000: seems high ****Electrical issues are crashing items – and any idea what a commercial copier costs? Ottley said the current one can no longer be serviced due to its age two or three meetings ago I think.

    Office Renovation, $15,000: we can live with what we have. *****Electrical Issue and windows being replaced. Another ongoing battle with the supervisor. It’s been approved many times, she won’t pay it.

    Office Supplies, $7,500: $625 per month?? That’s almost $30 per day!! ***The assessors office helped my mom file her appeal, and didn’t charge her for the copies needed. How much paper and ink/toner do they use every month?

    Maintenance Service, $7,000: seems high ****Does this include vehicle maintenance, as well as office equipment maintenance contracts? How many vehicles does the Assessor have? What does this cover?

    Telephone, $4,000: $300+/month?? Switch to broadband. **** How many lines, what services are used, and what is needed to get the job done?

    Legal, $20,000: I’ll make it zero; no need to sue, just talk! ****the supervisor doesn’t work that way – I am sure Ottley is trying to plan for the worst case scenario if she is re-elected.

    Outside Appraiser: $7,000: zero, no need, I am one! **** You may need additional support on a commercial appeal or a second opinion for conflict of interests. Perhaps there are specific reasons that an outside appraiser is needed for a State Level Appeals? We should ask before we assume.

    Equipment, $8,000: seems high. *** Is this the same as listed above? Same line, same amount – looks like a duplicate???

    Travel Expense, $8,000: to where and why? ***** Seminars, travel to classes, and going to Springfield for state level appeals. That is part of the job isn’t it? Perhaps mileage on personal vehicles??? Hotel Stays at the 3 day classes downstate they talk about at the meetings where the supervisor doesn’t pay the employees for their meals unless its overnight, she taxes them for it somehow?

    Training, $3,600: only if required by law. ****To be an Assessor requires annual training as a CIAO you know that. I assume this is also training for the staff as well???

    Uniforms, $500: nope, everybody buys their own. Not so much the amount but the philosophy. **** I want them to wear something that identifies them as assessors when they are in my back yard or my neighbors so I don’t call the cops or freak out. I personally have no problem with this small amount per year for that.

    Salaries are $340,000 and warrant a specific, in-depth analysis. **** How many people does this cover? Full or part time?

    I only write this comment and play devils advocate because we do not know the facts. I agree that I want my elected officials being responsible with my money, but I also want to make sure that they have the money to do the job correctly.

    It would be nice to eliminate all of the legal fees! But we all know that isn’t going to happen immediately. That is the obivous and primary waste of money. If Linda or the trustees are replaced perhaps that changes things? Perhaps not?

    When making a budget like this – do you plan for worse case scenarios?
    Do you try to be conservative and then what happens if you come up short? You can’t raise taxes in the middle of the year?

    What happens to the extra money if they do plan for worse case scenarios and there are funds remaining? Don’t they carry over and budgets get adjusted for the following year? When you went line by line – were there items you felt were under funded?

    I want to know the facts before I just throw someone under the bus and say the budget is too high. We all want to cut budgets as much as possible – but let’s do it responsibly and after we know why the items are where they are?

    Perhaps Assessor Ottley could offer insight if he reads the blog?

  6. I won’t respond line-by-line to be succinct but here are few.

    $8000 for “Line items not listed here were left unchanged”
    Do not have a clue and that’s my point: transparency, transparency, transparency.

    Electrical issues are crashing items – and any idea what a commercial copier costs?
    Much more than leasing. Why not lease to save money?

    Telephone, $4,000: $300+/month?? Switch to broadband.
    Vonage is less than $20/month per line.

    Travel…and going to Springfield for state level appeals.
    PTAB holds their hearings at the county facilities.

    Uniforms, $500: nope, everybody buys their own.
    We gree proper ID is required but everyone in the office could have hermetically-sealed picture ID cards for less than $25 from OfficeMax.
    Not so much the amount but the philosophy.

    All of your points are well-made and specifically make my point: taxpayers need to know specifically how their money is being spent (or better yet, invested)!

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