CHARLESTON -- During a meeting at which the Coles County Board appointed a new county supervisor of assessments, it heard about problems in the office from the person who recently was in the position on an interim basis.

Kelly Munyon, whose 60-day appointment to the position ended last month, said that was enough time for her to discover irregularities with records and assessment applications.

Both resulted in some property values being too low, increasing the burden on other taxpayers, she told the board.

"Somebody has a to pay for it," Munyon said. "Others are paying more. It's costing the rest of us a lot of money."

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During the meeting, the board voted 12-0 to appoint Denise Shores to the assessment supervisor position on a permanent basis.

Shores was the only candidate to pass the test the Illinois Department of Revenue requires for the position, county board Chairman Mike ZuHone said.

Her time as a deputy multi-township assessor and other credentials should help her address problems the office has faced, he said.

"Her main focus will be to look at everything that goes on in that office," ZuHone said. "It's not going to happen overnight."

Munyon said she found that records for numerous properties had not been moved to the office's newer computer system, meaning their assessments weren't up to date.

She added that all the records of some lease properties she examined showed they were receiving an exemption for which they weren't actually eligible. When she asked the office staff why that was the case, she was told "the board" told them to do it that way, she said.

"I can assure that was not this county board," ZuHone responded.

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Following Munyon was James DiNaso of the Concerned Tax Payers of Coles County, a group fighting a county reassessment project that regularly criticizes the board.

Among his comments, DiNaso said he was upset that Munyon wasn't considered for the supervisor's position. He said she tried to assist him with some of the questions he had while she was in the office.

"We are no closer to resolving the problem," he said.

In response, board member Denise Corray said she felt she was "doing the right thing for the county" in voting for Shores' appointment because she was qualified for the position.

Corray added that she believes Shores will "clear up and clean up and fix the messes" in the assessment office.

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Concerned Tax Payers member Robb Perry also began to address the board about the reassessment, beginning with a review of when the issue first arose in 2015.

However, that led to a brief, heated exchange with ZuHone, who told Perry he had the authority to "curtail repetitive comments."

"It's not repetitive," Perry replied. "It's what you do -- nothing."

Also Concerned Tax Payers member Rex Dukeman asked about any more research on a record of a board vote authorizing members for county health insurance.

The issue has been another matter of contention, with the opponents and the county at odds over board members who are eligible and whether the board every legally voted on it.

ZuHone provided Dukeman with a copy of what he said was a 1977 county record showing board approval. Dukeman questioned its authenticity, and accepted ZuHone's invitation to review the county records together to verify the document.

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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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