CHARLESTON -- An opponent of a Coles County property reassessment project says he has not been provided with information he has requested on how the project was conducted.

During Tuesday's Coles County Board meeting, James DiNaso said he has yet to receive information on the method the county used to reassess its commercial and industrial property.

"All we're asking is how you came up with the numbers," DiNaso said. He is a member of the Concerned Tax Payers of Coles County, a group opposing the reassessment that regularly criticizes the board during its meetings each month.

On Tuesday, DiNaso repeated group members' concerns about the lack of information on how Bob Becker, who the county hired to conduct the reassessment, calculated the new property values.

In response, board Vice Chairman Brandon Bell said the county Supervisor of Assessments Office provided DiNaso with documents that should have contained what DiNaso requested. However, DiNaso said they did not.

Bell, chairman of the board's Offices and Rules Committee that oversees the assessment office, also said some of the information might be "proprietary" or private business records of Becker's.

In turn, DiNaso said that should not apply to records of a public government project.

The discussion led board member Rick Shook to suggest that the board have Becker attend one of the board's upcoming meetings to answer questions.

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Chairman Mike ZuHone acknowledged that the information DiNaso wanted has not been readily available.

"We have not been able to acquire the answers you are seeking," ZuHone said.

DiNaso also urged the board to consider the impact of any tax increase, especially at the time of tax changes at the state level.

"That's more downward pressure," DiNaso said. "You have to hold the line here."

The reassessment began in 2015 after the county had not assigned new values for taxing purposes to commercial and industrial property since a countywide reassessment in 2001.

The criticism began after the first group of business owners received notices of the properties' new values. It evolved into a more organized efforts that has included lawsuits against the county, one of which is still pending.

Meanwhile, the board's votes Tuesday included amending the county's current fiscal year budget to reflect grants the county sheriff's office and emergency management agency received.

The board also voted to appoint Elaine Karpus-Komada as a member of the county Regional Planning and Development Commission and T.J. Dosch to the county Housing Authority.

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



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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