Breaking down county property taxes

Jeanette Brickner
jkendall@timestoday.com

Tazewell County, with a population of 135,000, has a total assessed value of $2.4 billion. Within the 19 townships in

Tazewell County, there are 182 taxing bodies.

Tazewell County Treasurer Mary Burress explained a bit about how the property tax process works.

There are three divisions in Tazewell County to get the tax bills out, she said.

“Townships bring in values they put on their homes to the supervisor of assessments. When the assessor gathers that information, he then ships that amount to the county clerk and the county clerk is getting all the levy, all the budgeting from the taxing bodies, and then she has the value from the assessor’s office. Then they calculate those figures and come up with a rate,” Burress said.

Once the rate is calculated, it’s sent to the treasurer’s office to print and mail out the bills, collect bills and disperse to the taxing bodies.

Gary Twist, a Tazewell County assessor, said, “It’s just an addition problem. Actually, the county clerk makes that happen really easy. For every taxing district, there is a separate code. The total tax collected for each levy body equals the taxable EAV times the tax rate,” Twist said.

According to illinois.gov, the Equalized Assessed Value, or EAV, “is the result of applying the state equalization factor to the assessed value of a parcel of property. Tax bills are calculated by multiplying the EAV (after any deductions for homesteads) by the tax rate.”

Each taxing body has a budget and sets their levy of how much they are going to need to operate.

“Then you have individual homes and businesses that are paying into this. If you have less business, your individuals are going to have to be paying more to make up for it,” she said. “That’s why it’s so important for these taxing bodies to hold their levies, keep them down, as much as possible.”

Burress said it’s important for communities to keep a good balance.

“If you are asking the taxpayers for more and more, your tax bills are going to go up so try to hold your levies. You want your tax base to be inviting. You want your communities to grow, so you want them to see the kind of businesses you have, you have decent tax rates. You want your community to thrive,” she said.

After looking at the graph supplied by GateHouse Media comparing property taxes between various towns, Burress made some comments.

“Morton seems to be the cheaper tax rate as far as the corporate goes but they’re paying for the amenities that you get within your city. In Pekin, we have a full-time fire department. In Morton, their firehouse is manned with EMT, four or five full-time, but their firemen are on call, they’re volunteer so that makes their corporate rate lower,” Burress said.

Regarding East Peoria, Burress had good things to say.

“They just have a great tax base as far as with their businesses. They’re centrally located. They’re right by 74 and 474.You have to have a good business base to help you with your taxes,” she said.

Property taxes will be impacted in Washington due to the devastation of the Nov. 17, 2013, tornado.

 “With the devastating tornado on Nov. 17, 2013, that went through all of Tazewell County destroying over 1,100 home in its path from Pekin, East Peoria, and with the most lost in Washington, the citizens of Tazewell County should be very proud of their officials for holding their communities together in such trying times.

“Washington’s Mayor, Gary Manier, and other officials have worked very hard and countless hours to rebuild their community and are very proud to call Washington their home. Mayor Manier has proven that he is a great leader and truly there for the citizens of his community,” Burress said.

Burress is in her fourth year of her first term as treasurer.

“It’s rewarding. People, some of them have a hard time coming up with their tax amount. It’s still rewarding to give your time to the county and to the taxpayers. I think Tazewell County, we’re just a great place to live. We have a lot to offer,” she said.