Property Taxes in Lake County, Dick Barr Argues For Lowering – Video

At the full Board Meeting of The lake County Board on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, County Board Member Dick Barr made an impassioned plea for the necessity of lowering property taxes. Citing that property taxes have never been lowered in at least 20 years, as far back as his data goes. Barr presented data going back to 2020 showing major decreases in new business development (90%), as well as the County’s Property Tax Levy increasing by 100% in that same time frame.

A resolution to increase the 2020 levy by $605,000 was presented to the Board to vote on.  Barr attempted to amend the resolution to freeze the levy, which would have provided tax savings to existing tax payers, albeit slight. He argues that while the savings are small, it is necessary to start a trajectory in the right direction.

Barr’s amendment failed to get the 11 votes necessary to pass.  6 Board Members voted in favor of Barr’s amendment, including Republicans Michael Danforth, Judy Martini, Brent Paxton, Ann Maine, and one Democrat, Diane Hewitt.

Keep up to date on Lake County issues at Dick’s Facebook Page 

Please Support My “No Growth 2020 Property Tax Levy” Amendment

Please Support My “No Growth 2020 Property Tax Levy” Amendment

The County Board will be voting on an estimated 2020 Property Tax Levy (amount collected in property taxes) tomorrow (September 10th) at the full board meeting at 9 AM on the 10th Floor of the Lake County Administration Building at 18 N County St in Waukegan.

I will be proposing an amendment to the resolution to freeze the levy at the 2019 amount, opting to not increase the levy with new growth.  Instead, the new growth will be used to reduce the existing tax base portion of the levy, however slight.

Watch the video the explains the Levy and my reasons for proposing an amendment.

My reasons are many:

  • Primarily, I am very concerned that new growth tax revenue in Lake County has declined by 90% since 2020, from $6 Million in 2000 to $605 Thousand projected in 2020.
  • The Lake County property tax levy has increased 100% since 2000, from $80 Million in 2000 to the current $162 Million. Even when adjusted for inflation that number has risen from $125 Million in 2000 to the current $162 Million, an increase of 30%.
  • Lake County will be receiving additional revenue from the state next year, partly due to increased transportation revenue from the State’s Motor Fuel Tax (estimated between $5-7 Million a year), and Lake County will also receive sales tax revenue from any marijuana retail that goes anywhere in the County, including within municipalities. (I am not currently aware of any projections or estimates on marijuana tax)
  • Cuts to services are not necessary to accomplish what I am asking, although during the budget process over the coming months I will be looking very closely to areas where cuts are warranted.
  • Lake County Government has not lowered its levy going back at least 20 years (as far back as my data goes). This is an opportunity to show residents that we care about the current trajectory of Property Taxes, and are committed to reversing that trajectory for the first time in decades.
  • Every $48 of property tax affects home equity by about $1,000. $480 of property tax affects about $10k in home equity and $4,800 in property tax affects about $100,000 in equity.  This is because lenders approve mortgage borrowers based on their monthly debt to income ratio taking property taxes into account.
  • While my proposal will mean very little on the individual tax bills, I hope its effect will be example setting and educational so that residents can ask the same of other taxing bodies that make up the 95% of the tax bill that County Government does not control.
  • Property Tax Payers have been investing in maintenance and infrastructure to make new development growth possible, but under the current system of not using new development growth to lower property taxes, residents never earn a return on their investment.

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve you.  Please let me know if you have any questions at all!

Property Tax Levy Explained

We all know what our property taxes are, but how many have ever explained what they mean? In this video, I go into great depth to explain exactly how the Lake County Government Property Tax levy works and how it affects your tax bill.

Property Tax and the Property Tax levy are some of the more difficult ideas to understand in Government. In this video you will know what a levy is, how it is decided, and how new property development affects the levy and size of spending in a taxing body.

For more information and videos, visit our Facebook Page at


Property Tax Going Up?

Quadrennial Reassessments

Every four years Illinois Counties reassess every single property on the tax roles for the purpose of levying Property Taxes. Cook County reassesses properties every three years.

2019 is the quadrennial reassessment year for Lake County. Invariably, there will be winners and losers, as some properties have seen significant increases in value since the last quadrennial reassessment in 2015. Homes like Condos and townhomes have seen the largest value increases since 2015.  Condo and townhome owners may be in for some unpleasant surprises on their 2020 tax bills.  On the flip side, homes that already increased in value prior to the last reassessment may see some tax relief from the 2019 quadrennial reassessment.  Homes in the $250k+ range mostly fall into this category. This is because their assessments already accounted for their higher values, and that segment of the market has seen some softening in recent years.

Why does property tax go up even if property values go down?

Why do property taxes always go up even when my home values go down? This is a more complicated concept that I discuss at length in the video. Spoiler alert: It has to do with the fact that your value doesn’t truly determine your property taxes, more specifically, your value compared to the value of others’ homes is what determines your property tax.

What will your tax bill look like in 2020? Will your property taxes be going up again? This video goes in depth to understand your property taxes in their entirety, using very easy to understand analogies and explanations.


If you have more questions or you would like more information after watching the video, please feel free to reach out to me anytime.  Stay up to date on what’s happening in Lake County by “liking” me on Facebook. My official page on Facebook is  You can also sign up for my newsletter by clicking here:

If you would like more information on Property taxes, please visit my property tax information page here:


Lake County Property Tax Appeals

Lake County Property Tax Appeals

Appeal Process

The Lake County Board of Review & Appeal Process
The Lake County Board of Review has the authority to raise, lower or sustain property assessments as appears just. The typical appellant before the Board is a property owner who is dissatisfied with the assessment on a Lake County property.

Prior to filing a formal appeal to the Board, the Board strongly encourages property owners to visit their local township assessor’s office to discuss their concerns. In two types of appeals, those based on a “Factual Error” (such as incorrect square footage of a lot or improvement) and “Vacancy” of an income-producing commercial property, the Board actually requires that the local township assessor’s office be contacted first. Often the reason for an assessment can be made clear or an issue resolved at the local assessor’s office without going before the Board.

Filing an Appeal
For those cases which cannot be settled at the local township assessor’s office, the Board accepts appeals which meet criteria delineated here and discussed in Section III of the Board’s Rules: The appellant must have standing with the Board, must use and complete the prescribed forms of the Board, attach required evidence and submit one copy in a timely fashion – i.e., on or before thirty (30) days after the date of publication of current assessments for a particular township.

It is important to follow the Board’s rules regarding the filing of an appeal. If the criteria are not met, the Board will not schedule a hearing for the case, the Board will not render a decision and the appellant will have forfeited the right to further appeal the current assessment of a subject property.

The Board of Review has a comprehensive online appeal filing application available for the filing of assessment appeals. Comparable sales and assessments can be researched through this application. The Lake County Comparable Property Grid is available in the application and can be uploaded to the Board of Review. The application can accept the upload of documents from recent sales transactions and ad valorem appraisal documents as well.

Appellants choose the basis of their appeals and the form of hearing they prefer.

Reasons to Appeal
The typical bases or reasons for appeals are:

  • The assessment of a subject property is based on a factual error (e.g., incorrect square footage).
  • The assessment is greater than 1/3rd of the subject property’s recent sale price.
  • The assessment is greater than 1/3rd of the subject property’s market value.
  • The assessment of the subject property is higher than that of comparable properties.
  • Matters of law.

The type of evidence required by the Board for each basis or reason for an appeal is specified on the Appeal (application) Form and discussed in Section IV of the Board’s Rules.

Hearing Type
Appellants also may choose the form of hearing for their case. A hearing can be by letter, phone or in person, respectively options “1,” “2” and “3” on the Appeal (application) Form. If by letter, the Board decides the case on the basis of the written evidence submitted by the appellant and local township assessor’s office. The appeal by letter is the easiest form of appeal, because the appellant (and any representative and/or witness) does not need to remember to call nor travel to the Board on a designated date and time.

While any appeal may be heard by letter, two kinds of residential appeals accompanied by required written evidence are particularly well-suited for review by letter. One kind is an appeal based on a Subject Property’s Recent Sale Price and accompanied by a signed Settlement Statement or signed HUD-1, MLS listing history and the recorded Illinois Real Estate Transfer Declaration (PTAX-203). These documents typically are among the closing documents for the sale of a subject property or are available from the real estate broker involved in the transaction. (See the Board’s Rules, Section IV B, for further information.) The second kind of appeal that is well-suited for review by letter, is based on Fair Cash Value and accompanied by an ad valorem appraisal of a subject property, valuing the subject property as of the lien date (January 1st) of the current assessment year. (See the Board’s Rules, Section IVC, for further details.) Aside from the above mentioned instances, any well prepared case based upon comparable properties can also handled by the Board of Review without a hearing.

If the hearing is by phone or in person, the hearing begins with the swearing-in of parties to the case. Appellants and/or their attorney give evidence and testimony. The Township Assessor’s Office presents evidence and testimony. The Board and parties may ask questions. Parties to the case may provide rebuttal testimony. Board members deliberate between or among themselves and render their decision. Hearings are scheduled every fifteen (15) minutes.

The Appeal (application) Form, the Board’s Rules and this website are designed to be instructive. However, for those property owners who have additional questions or concerns, the Chief County Assessment Office conducts Tax Assessment Help Centers throughout the County during the appeal application time periods. In addition, the Chief County Assessment office has taxpayer advocates available each business day that can assist taxpayers with their assessment and appeal process questions.

Board of Review Forms

2019 Rules of the Board of Review (PDF)

2019 Rules of the Board of Review – Spanish (PDF)–Coming Soon

2019 Residential Appeal–Available soon in Smartfile

2019 Commercial/Industrial Appeal–Available soon in Smartfile

2019 Commercial Income/Expense Worksheet (PDF)
This form works best using Internet Explorer, or by downloading and saving a copy to the computer.

2019 Board of Review Vacancy Affidavit (PDF)

Commercial/Industrial Comparison Grid (PDF)

Attorney E-Filing Registration Form (Online Form)

Request to Intervene in Appeal Proceeding (Smartfile)

Click Here to view filing deadlines on the County’s Chief County Assessor’s Office Website.

Click Here to view the Hearing Schedules on the County’s CCAO Website

The Board of Review has made some changes to their rules and procedures for assessment appeal hearings. One misconception is that a property owner would need to have an attorney to file an assessment appeal. Can a taxpayer still file an assessment appeal?

Yes, in nearly all instances a taxpayer can file the assessment appeal without the assistance of an attorney. The county provides a tremendous amount of property assessment related information on the CCAO website. The Board of Review has tools that can be used for searching for comparable property information and completing forms on the office website. Corporations and limited liability companies will need to utilize an attorney in the assessment appeal for their properties. 

Is an attorney the only professional that can represent a party at the Board of Review?

Yes, this is true. In Illinois an attorney is the only professional that can represent a party in a judicial or quasi-judicial setting like the Board of Review process (705 ILCS 205/1).

I have sought the assistance of a real estate broker when I have gone through the assessment appeal process in recent years. How can these types of licensed professionals help me in an assessment appeal with the Lake County Board of Review?

Illinois licensed real estate brokers, real estate appraisers, accountants, and other professionals may assist you with the preparation of case evidence and testify at hearings before the Board of Review as expert witnesses. These professionals cannot represent a taxpayer at a hearing or file an assessment appeal cases on behalf of any party seeking relief from the Lake County Board of Review.

Those not qualified to practice law in the State of Illinois may not appear at hearings before the Board in a representative capacity and may not conduct questioning, cross-examination or other investigations at the hearing. Non-attorneys may not testify at a hearing without the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s attorney. In the instance where an appeal is filed by a non-attorney agent, the materials provided will be returned to the agent. Filing deadlines will not be extended for appellants who utilize non-attorney agents.

Can I e-file my assessment appeal with the Board of Review?

Online filing of appeals  in Lake County. The online filing application allows for the uploading of evidence such as the Lake County Comparable Property Grid, an ad valorem appraisal and a legal brief. For cases regarding the recent sale of a subject property, the online application requires answering a series of questions about the transaction and allows for the upload of a HUD-1 or Settlement Statement. Filers will receive an email confirmation that their case has been submitted within one business day of the filing being completed.

It is important to note that the online appeal application depends upon the successful operation of many electronic systems, each beyond the control of the Board of Review. Lake County cannot guarantee the availability of the online application, and the Board highly recommends appellants not wait until a filing deadline to submit their appeals online. Filing deadlines are fixed and not extended if, for some reason, the online application is unavailable.

How should I go about evaluating my property assessment valuation?

We recommended these steps to review your assessment valuation:
1. Review all of the information on the assessment notice.
2. Visit to review assessment information including property characteristics, comparable property information, and the e-filing process.
3. Discuss any questions on your assessment value or property information with your township assessor’s office.
4. If an assessment appeal is in order, prepare evidence by using the Lake County Comparable Grid, and other materials such as appraisals, or sales documents.
5. Complete and submit an assessment appeal using the Smartfile e-filing system and with supporting evidence to the Board of Review by the prescribed deadline.
6. You can attend the hearing in person, by telephone, or submit case materials and ask the Board of Review to decide the case based on the evidence provided. Most cases can be resolved without in-person or telephone hearing. Particularly cases based upon a recent purchase of a subject property, or those based upon an appraisal provided by an Illinois licensed provider.

How does an assessment appeal hearing work?

At the outset of a hearing the parties to a case are sworn in, appeal hearings are conducted in the following manner: The appellant presents testimony regarding the assessment and answers any questions from the Board. Next, the Township Assessor or a representative from his/her office is expected to be present to give evidence and testimony concerning the property and its assessment. The appellant then presents rebuttal to Assessor remarks. This concludes the evidentiary portion of the hearing. Board Members then deliberate, considering the evidence, testimony and rebuttal, and announce their decision at the close of the hearing. Hearings are scheduled at 15 minute intervals.

What website tools exist to help me with an assessment appeal?
• Comparable Search (available soon) – allows the taxpayer to review their property information, search for comparable properties and complete the Lake County Comparable Property Grid.
• Online Appeal Filing Application – the appellant can e-file their assessment appeal and various documents pertinent to an assessment appeal case.
• Lake County Maps Online – aerial photography and map making ability.

Are there any ways a taxpayer can get assistance with their assessment value related questions?
• Have a conversation with your elected township assessor’s office. Generally these offices want to hear from taxpayers or have them stop in to get their property tax assessment valuation questions answered.

• Talk to a Taxpayer Advocate with the Chief County Assessment Office Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling 847.377.2050, or visiting the office at: 18 N County St., 7th Floor, Waukegan.
• Attend a Tax Assessment Help Center to receive one-on-one assistance from the Chief County Assessment Office.

• Utilize all of the web tools and resources at the Chief County Assessment Office and Board of Review websites.

If I provided appropriate evidence, can my township assessor adjust my assessment after it is published and noticed?

Yes, the township assessor’s office has the ability to modify the assessment value after the assessment notice has been mailed. The assessor can request a valuation change be approved by the Board of Review. These value change requests of an assessor are submitted to the Board of Review electronically.

If I have recently purchased my home and my assessment valuation reflects a market value higher than my purchase price, what can I do?

Generally, this is the most straight forward type of assessment related circumstance. We would suggest that you take information on your purchase and discuss your assessment valuation with your township assessor’s office. Assessors can recommend a change in your assessment valuation to the Board of Review which will eliminate the need to file an assessment appeal.

If you find that your township assessor’s office is unable to make a recommendation to the Board of Review, you will need to file an assessment appeal. In this instance, you will want to provide a copy of the HUD-1 closing document, the PTAX-203 Illinois Transfer Declaration, or any other proof that the sale was advertised and was an arms-length transaction. There is no need to have representation at the Board of Review in this type of circumstance. Often, the Board of Review resolves these types of assessment appeals without a formal hearing.

Is a real estate appraisal a good piece of evidence?

Generally, one of the best pieces of evidence is a real estate appraisal, done for ad valorem property taxation purposes, with a valuation date of January 1, 2019. This is an appraisal that would have been done to determine the value of a property as of the tax lien date (January 1).

Many people have appraisals that have been done for refinancing purposes. These documents can be good evidence of value as well and the Board of Review does accept these documents as evidence.

It is important to understand the scope and purpose of an appraisal that is done for financing can be different than an appraisal that is done for ad valorem taxation purposes. The date of value, time period of comparable sales data and other different lender requirements can significantly affect the value conclusion.

Real estate appraisal is not an exact science. The Board understands that real estate appraisals are educated opinions of value. It is common for value opinions and adjustments to differ from one appraisal professional to another. It should also be understood that in these cases it is common for the township assessor’s office to provide additional market value evidence. The Board of Review will review the appraisal report provided and the assessor evidence to determine an appropriate property tax assessment value for the subject property.

Click Here to file an online appeal at the County’s CCAO website. This will only be active during the open appeal periods.

LC Board Members Attend State Leadership Day at White House in DC

LC Board Members Attend State Leadership Day at White House in DC

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, Lake County Board Members, Dick Barr, Judy Martini, and Michael Danforth joined roughly 100 County Leaders from Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan at the White House in Washington, D.C. for State Leadership Day to discuss the programs and opportunities available to local Governments to help their respective communities. Participants met with senior members of the Trump administration and Vice President, Mike Pence, on key issues like flooding, small business and economic development, the opioid and substance abuse epidemic, and revitalizing American infrastructure.

“As the requirements of our communities are growing at unprecedented rates, it is becoming increasingly important to network with our Federal partners in Washington to help address our local issues,” said Dick Barr, a Round Lake Beach Republican Member of the County Board. “Lake County needs Billions of dollars’ worth of improved infrastructure that no gas tax in Lake County will even begin to touch. Federal involvement is imperative to the future of our residents if we wish to find a way to keep residents and businesses wanting to stay in our County,” Barr added. “The senior level contacts we made in Washington will be immensely valuable to the people we serve in Lake County.”

Elected officials spent the day listening to reports and opportunities made available by the Administration for the Department of Agriculture, Army Corp of Engineers, Small Business Administration, FEMA, Department of Transportation, Department of Education, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Office of American Innovation and the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council.

“I’ve talked with many Officials who are making use of a Federal lobbyist to get access to much needed grant revenue from the Federal Government to tackle the more difficult projects,” said Judy Martini, Republican Board Member from Fox Lake. “A small investment could spell millions in additional funding opportunities.”

“Having these conversations face to face and learning about these opportunities can make a very big impact for Lake County. The Chain of Lakes, which represents about $100 Million in annual tourism, is experiencing major detrimental effects from flooding, erosion and sedimentation which will have an increasing negative effect on the residents and tourists who live and play in Northwestern Lake County. We could make use of a Building Resilient Infrastructure & Communities (BRIC) grant to help the Chain be more resilient to changes that are affecting our environment.”

Michael Danforth, a Barrington Republican County Board Member, said, “Our property taxes in Lake County are out of control. While the Lake County Government represents only between 5-7% of a typical resident’s property tax bill, we are always looking for ways to leverage additional funding resources to help alleviate the property tax burden of our residents.” He added, “The resources we learned about and contacts we made will go a long way to help leverage better services for our residents without adding to what already amounts to one of the highest property tax burdens in the nation.”

Executive Director of the Illinois State Association of Counties (ISACO), Joe McCoy, who also attended the conference, said, “An effective partnership between the federal government and local officials is critically important. The White House conference provides a forum for county officials from Illinois to ask direct questions of administration officials about issues of importance to their counties. I was pleased to see
our county officials take advantage of this opportunity for constructive dialogue.”

In addition to the meeting at the White House, Lake County representatives also said they met with legislative staff for U.S. Congressman Brad Schneider and U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.

“While meeting with our Federal Representatives, we provided information strongly supporting reauthorization of the “FAST Act” through the bipartisan, “America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act,” as it provides federal infrastructure investments through 2025,” claimed Barr. “Additionally, we requested almost $25 Million in funding for a number of unfunded flood control projects, $9 Million for Public Works projects to
address our 70+ year average age piping infrastructure through the County, and requested fast action from the EPA on the assessment of data and presentation of results obtained from the recent Ethylene Oxide (EtO) testing performed in Lake County. We also requested additional funding for more EtO testing.”

The next step in the process is to take the information gathered and put it to good use.

“I am looking forward to meeting with the incredible staff at Lake County to go over my notes and share the information and contacts gathered during our trip to see which grants make sense for our circumstances and which grants can be effectively utilized to provide the biggest bang for our buck,” said Danforth.

Lake County Approves Shared Services Agreement with Village of Lake Villa

Lake County Approves Shared Services Agreement with Village of Lake Villa

The Lake County Board approved at its June 11 meeting two intergovernmental agreements with the Village of Lake Villa for the Lake County Planning, Building and Development department to provide building inspection and plan review services for the Village. Lake Villa is located near the County’s largest concentration of current inspection activities – making it an efficient location to provide service while cutting driving time between inspections. 

Lake Villa also will be the first community to use the County’s land management system. The County negotiated a “Shared Services” clause with its vendor to allow municipalities to use the system at a fraction of the County’s cost to purchase it. This not only provides cost savings for the Village and allows it to expand online permit services to residents and businesses, but it also makes it more efficient for the County to provide inspections and plan reviews since the County and Village will be using the same system.

Lake County Gas Tax Petition

Lake County Gas Tax Petition

The Lake County Board is currently in discussions regarding implementation of a county-wide gas tax, in addition to the recent doubling of the state’s gas tax. 

The proposed gas tax could range between $0.04 and $0.08 per gallon, and will rise annually with inflation. 

If you are opposed to such an increase in taxes, please take the time to sign our petition, as well share it with your network.   

Click the below link to head to the petition.