Editor’s Note—This is the first story in a two-part series about property taxes in Deerfield.
Though Deerfield property values have dropped in the last year real estate taxes may very well increase according to .
Healy is waiting for a deluge of phone calls, but so far the calls have been reasonably light.
This is the time of year when the affable Assessor and his two- person staff are usually swamped with complaints since Township residents and businesses have just received their blue Property Tax Assessment notices from the Lake County Assessor’s office.
Healy is one of 18 elected assessors in Lake County, one for each township. He said West Deerfield Township has the ninth highest number of property parcels in the county, so it keeps him and his two staff members busy year round.
When asked about current trends, he said the number of local property sales has increased slightly and currently there seems to be more housing stability within the township. “Only time will tell if that will stick,” he said.
He said the assessed value of township properties continues to fall, but when he receives all the tax rate filings from the various governmental entities such as libraries, schools districts, drainage, sanitary districts, the township and others listed on the tax installment forms who are now drafting their budgets for the coming year, taxes will probably be up again.
Healy makes it clear that he has nothing to do with deciding on setting the property tax levels. His job is to simply to assess property within his jurisdiction on a fair and impartial neighborhood basis at one-third its market value (33.33%) over a three year period. He points out it is the various local governmental bodies that determine their own tax levels. School districts are traditionally by far the largest consumer of the public’s funds.
The Assessor’s job, Healy says, is to determine what each property taxpayers fair share should be of the overall combined tax burden.
Healy said he assesses annually only the cash value of the township’s real property (real estate), both residential and commercial. Personal property used to be included but was dropped by the legislature in 1979.
He said it’s a challenging job trying to fairly balance 12,000 property parcels in West Deerfield Township at 33.33 percent of fair market value equitably every year.
The township includes a small slice of western Highland Park, all of Deerfield, Bannockburn and Riverwoods, and the southwest portion of Lake Forest.