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Local Column

Olson: Property assessment info in Thursday's Daily Chronicle

If you own property in DeKalb County, you should pick up a copy of Thursday’s Daily Chronicle.

In addition to the usual reasons to pick up the paper – important news, advertisements, the comics – Thursday’s edition will include assessment data from 18 of the county’s 19 townships. (Assessment data for Sandwich Township will be printed in our sister paper, the Sandwich Record.)

If your local township assessor has adjusted the value of your property this year, it will be listed in the paper, as required by law.

This year will include many properties, but next year will bring the quadrennial reassessment of properties across the county, DeKalb County Supervisor of Assessments Robin Brunschon said.

That will be like the Olympics of property assessment, pulling in all the properties in the county for re-evaluation. Assessments matter, of course, because they’re used to compute your property tax liability, which in DeKalb County adds up to several thousand dollars or more each year.

After the assessments are published, property owners have until close of business Nov. 5 to appeal.

Brunschon said a good first step if you’re unhappy with your property assessment is to contact you township assessor, and make sure they have accurate information for your property.

A list of supervisor contact information is available online through Brunschon’s office website,

“These assessments are from the township assessor,” Brunschon said. “Go and do your homework, do your research, but you should always check on it. ... You might be able to work something out.”

Information for the upcoming tax year also will be available at, where you can search for your property (or anyone’s) and see assessment data.

For the coming year’s data, be sure to select “Tax Year 2018” from the pull-down menu. There’s no information listed this year for my house, so it might not be updated yet – or maybe my property wasn’t reassessed, I’ll have to wait and see.

In the event you do want to challenge your property assessment, you’ll have to find properties comparable to yours that are assessed at a lower level, or that have sold for less and so on. Some people hire lawyers to do this, others do it themselves.

If the township assessor isn’t convinced there should be a change in their assessment, the next step is the county Board of Review. The board will hear tax appeals beginning in November or December, depending on the number of appeals, Brunschon said, and will issue it’s decisions by February.

The next tax bills will go out in May, and then the process will begin again.

There could be some higher assessments out there, either this year or next. The local real estate market does seem to be bouncing back, said Brunschon, who started here in 2011.

Sycamore and the Cortland Township areas have been seeing growth in particular, she said, and the recent mixed-use apartment and retail projects in downtown DeKalb have added value, too.

“Some of the sales I see, it’s like,
‘Whoa,’ ” she said. “So we’ll see what happens.”

Check out Thursday’s edition to see whether anything’s happened with your property.

• Eric Olson is general manager of the Daily Chronicle. Reach him at 815-756-4841 ext. 2257, email, or follow him on Twitter @DC_Editor.

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