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CHARLESTON -- Coles County's failure to appoint a permanent supervisor of assessments was added Tuesday to the issues opponents have in criticizing a county property reassessment project.

At the Coles County Board meeting, James DiNaso of the Concerned Tax Payers of Coles County likened the situation to when the board appointed one of its former members to the group that handles assessment appeals.

He said it was an example of what he found "most frustrating," saying the board hasn't been willing to admit mistakes or accept responsibility since the issue first arose.

"It's been a long two years," DiNaso said.

Coles County seeks dismissal of reassessment opposition group's lawsuit

Currently, Andrew Milliman, who was the chief deputy in the county assessment office, is filling the supervisor's role on an interim basis.

Former Supervisor Karen Biddle opted to retire after the county board wouldn't guarantee her reappointment to another term in the position.

However, the appointment of Milliman that the board approved in November is set to expire this week.

The Illinois Department of Revenue indicated the appointment can't go beyond 60 days. Neither Milliman nor any of the other three applicants have passed a state-required test for the position.

On Tuesday, DiNaso said the situation means there's no "autonomous" assessment supervisor, noting that the vacancy means the county board chairman has to sign some documents instead of the supervisor.

He said it's part of a "trust issue" that was also compounded when the board appointed former member Dan Lawrence to the county Board of Review last year, with DiNaso claiming there was another, more qualified candidate.

DiNaso also repeated one of the group's chief, ongoing contentions -- that the hiring of appraiser Bob Becker to do the reassessment wasn't proper and the work should be done by the county assessment office.

The contentions are over the reassessment of the county's commercial and industrial property. They evolved over the years since the project began into a more organized effort that included a lawsuit against the county, which is still pending.

Group seeks court action to halt Coles reassessment project

Also Tuesday, Concerned Tax Payers member Robb Perry revisited another of the group's contentions -- that some property values increased after an appeal to the Board of Review lowered them.

"You see why I might be a little frustrated," he said.

For the most part, the board didn't respond to the comments, though Vice Chairman Brandon Bell said he would ask Milliman about Perry's claims. Bell is chairman of the board's Offices and Rules Committee, which oversees the assessment office.

Meanwhile, in one of the few votes during the meeting, the board approved the appointment of Todd Garner to replace Charles Schuster on the county Mental Health Board.

The board also voted to move its meeting next month to Feb. 13, as the regular meeting day of Feb. 12 is the Lincoln's birthday holiday.

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Contact Dave Fopay at (217) 238-6858. Follow him on Twitter: @FopayDave

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Dave Fopay is a reporter for the JG-TC who covers Coles County, the local court system, Charleston schools and more.

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