Chicagoland mansion owners won’t get the tax breaks they were promised

Assessor Fritz Kaegi backed out of pledge in New Trier, blamed Cook County Board of Review

Dec.December 02, 2019 11:42 AM
Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi and a Winnetka mansion (Credit: Cook County and Redfin)

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi and a Winnetka mansion (Credit: Cook County and Redfin)

In the end, Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi won’t deliver a promised property tax break for the homeowners of hundreds of luxury homes built on floodplains.

Ever since Kaegi took office in April, he’s been adamant about reforming the property tax system in Cook County. Included in his proposed plan was requiring property owners to report their income and reassessing property values.

But over this summer, the assessor’s office did not use floodplain data in the computer model for New Trier Township, though it did weeks later for other townships. To rectify the issue, Kaegi said he would apply a rarely-used legal procedure called a Certificate of Correction to correct previous assessments of the 1,136 homes in New Trier, some of Chicagoland’s priciest real estate. Re-assessments in New Trier were projected to reduce values by 19 percent.

The majority of homes affected were luxury properties in Winnetka valued at over $1 million. The proposed changes would have trimmed $31 million off their assessments, and additionally would have cut millions off their taxes for the next few years.

But despite his promise in a letter he sent three months ago, his office never filed for the tax relief for the nearly 1,100 homeowners. In a statement his office released Tuesday, he blamed the Cook County Board for the Review reversal but also admitted to never formally applying for the tax relief.

Scott Smith, Kaegi’s spokesperson, said in a statement Tuesday, “We had several meetings and conversations with the Board of Review about intention to issue Certificates of Correction for assessments of properties in floodplains. At the conclusion of these meetings, the Board of Review said they would not process the Certificates and would prefer the issue get resolved during their appeals process.”

But William O’Shields, the Board of Review’s chief deputy commissioner said they he denied Kaegi’s approach based on procedural grounds, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. [Sun-Times] — Jacqueline Flynn

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