Reed Township property taxes could see “significant” increases

REED TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE Adam Beaty said that while incorrect assessments are finally being addressed and adjusted by the new assessor, those adjustments could mean a significant spike in property taxes for some township residents.

Marney Simon

Assessments from Reed Township have been an issue with members of township and Braidwood city government over the past year.

Now, as newly appointed assessor Mary Jones works through the list of properties to correct mistakes, members of the township board said the result could be significant sticker shock for some homeowners.

In December of last year, Adam Beaty, a member of the Reed Township Board of Electors, addressed what he referred to as “ongoing issues” with former assessor Melanie Noramczyk. Braidwood city administrator Tony Altiery also addressed issues with the assessor’s office multiple times in 2021 regarding assessments within the city limits.

Last year, Altiery said there appeared to be dozens or even hundreds of homes that had not been property assessed since 2014, adding that a random look at 50 building permits showed that 44 homes that had not been properly assessed in more than seven years, with only four of those homes belonging to veterans who receive a veteran property tax exemption from the state. Altiery said just those permits alone represented about $200,000 in tax dollars that have not been paid into the school district, fire protection district, city, township, mosquito abatement, and other local taxing bodies.

Beaty said Noramczyk ultimately exited the office, with Jones appointed to the position as her replacement.

And, with those assessments now being corrected, the taxing bodies will see their funds increase but homeowners might be in for a shock.

“[Jones] and her team have been working extremely hard to stifle a nearly decade old wildfire of property tax errors. So much progress has been made to date and there is still so much more to be done and amended,” Beaty said in a statement he submitted to the Braidwood Journal. “However, what we (the board) see as progress may be a burden for the ill prepared. That is why as a Trustee elected and entrusted to protect the people of Reed Township and in conjunction with the Tax Assessor appointed to do the same, we feel it necessary to notify and forewarn certain citizens of impending and forthcoming changes to their property tax bills. For some this may be yesterday’s news but for others, this may carry significant sticker shock. The direct result of years of negligence at the hand of the previous assessor are now coming to light. Just as after any fire or disaster, the extent of the damage isn’t known until it is properly assessed.”

Beaty said that in the coming weeks, as tax assessments go out, many homes in Reed Township will see a significant spike in property taxes.

“This sharp spike is due to certain properties, for years, being taxed only on the land and not on the building(s) that sit upon them,” Beaty said. “Some residents will see the full force of their building hit their upcoming tax bill.”

Beaty said he is among those who will see the increase. Beaty said his home, built in 2019, has only been assessed on the land since it was constructed.

“Now that my property has been correctly assessed the full effect of my home will be realized in 2023 resulting in a significant rise of my mortgage payment if I don’t prepare now by saving or adding a little extra to my Escrow account,” he stated.

“It is important to understand that this is not a new tax or rise in your property taxes. This is a correction to assessments never done or improperly valued by the previous assessor. If these corrections were never made, it would result in our schools having substantial budgetary shortfalls, our fire department unable to maintain equipment or personnel, and our library cutting beneficial community services among other things.”

Beaty said he was issuing a statement in order to prepare the public, so that residents won’t be blindsided by the increases to their taxes.

“The time to act and prepare is right now,” he warned. “There are options and resources if you need help to prepare for the change should you be affected. Remember, not every person will see a change in their tax bill. Properties that are lacking an assessment with a building will be most affected.

“We understand that for some this is unwelcome news. However, we felt it was our duty to inform our citizens and arm them with the knowledge to prepare. Furthermore, the consequences of inaction at this point would lead to even heavier burdens later.”

Beaty said that he inquired about the possibility of legal action regarding the years of incorrect assessments, but was told litigation was unlikely to be successful, as the burden of knowing the proper amount of property taxes lies with the homeowner.

The Reed Township board is hosting a special meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 10. While that meeting is not being held regarding assessments, Beaty said there is an opportunity for public input at the meeting, which would be an appropriate place for the public to submit their comments, questions, or concerns over assessments or any issue within the township.

That meeting is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. at the Reed Township Hall.

Noramczyk, the previous assessor, was contacted by Free Press Newspapers regarding the assessments in January, but did not return requests for comment.