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CHARLESTON -- The Coles County Board continued Tuesday to hear criticism of the county's property reassessment project, including from one of its own.

Board member Jan Eads joined with members of the Concerned Taxpayers of Coles County group in questioning values assigned to property with the reassessment of commercial and industrial property that began in 2016.

Responding to a question from Concerned Taxpayers member Robb Perry, Eads said the assessed value of her own property doubled with the reassessment.

She also said the county Board of Review, which handles assessment appeals, wouldn't consider her contentions and "everything I tried to say was rebutted."

Eads, a real estate broker, said she felt she had ample experience with property values and sales to question some of the changes.

She also said prices on property for sale in the county have declined so "this is just not the time to raise anybody's taxes," a comment that drew applause from the meeting's audience.

The Concerned Taxpayers group has been addressing the board about the reassessment project at its monthly meetings for more than a year.

The criticism began after the first businesses received their new property values with the project that the county began because commercial and industrial property hadn't been reassessed since 2001.

On Tuesday, Concerned Taxpayers member James DiNaso said he learned that Ford County's Board of Review lowered that county's property values during a similar situation there.

"You told us there was nothing you could do," DiNaso said, referring to county board's the position that it couldn't reverse the project once new values were in place.

In response, board Chairman Stan Metzger noted it was the Board of Review that made the change in Ford County, not the county board. It's the Board of Review's duty to consider assessed value changes, he said.

DiNaso also continued the group's questioning of the employment status of and methods used by Bob Becker, the appraiser the board hired for the reassessment project.

He claimed that Becker, in work as a private appraiser, appraised a building at about $95,000 for use in a loan application. Later, with the reassessment, Becker assigned the same building a value of more than $180,000, DiNaso said.

"If that doesn't raise a red flag, I don't know what does," DiNaso said.

On the same note, Perry said a building the reassessment valued at about $700,000 was reduced by the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board to just more than $300,000.

The lower figure was more in line with the value from a private appraisal of the property, he added.

"He missed it," Perry said of Becker's calculations. "When did he get in the business of taking on appraisers?"

Neither Becker nor anyone from the county Supervisor of Assessments Office have attended the county board's meetings for several months.


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