ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Twice a year we get a bill for our property taxes. While we can't avoid them, some Rockford homeowners are fighting back.
This is one of the busiest times of the year for the Winnebago County Assessor’s Office. Workers are filing through hundreds of complaints from Rockford homeowners arguing their property assessments are wrong, but what's taxing employees this year -- the number of calls coming into the office.
"We're getting lots of calls. I think we're getting more calls this year of people saying they want to protest their taxes," Supervisor of Assessments, Tom Walsh, said.
They're callers like Andrea Azar. She's filed complaints before to get her assessment changed since her home value has dropped, but this year she's doing it for a different reason.
"Just as a protest against taxes. They're very high. Of course they're much higher. Percentage wise they're higher than my daughters taxes in California," Azar said.
A group called Concerned Citizens for Rockford is encouraging homeowners to file complaints with the assessor’s office to lower property taxes, since home prices aren't keeping up with inflation. Founder Jim Novak came up with the idea after watching his home drop in value more than $40,000 over 25 years. He hopes the complaints will be a wake-up call for city leaders.
"We are tired of the overspending, the reckless spending and we need to get our property values back up," Novak said.
Luckily, some owners may see some relief on their taxes this year. The assessor’s office says taxes dropped on about 80,000 of the 120,000 homes in the county. Regardless of the drop, Azar says it's important to file the complaint.
"It certainly is worthwhile. I mean, you can always keep trying, you know. Maybe they're a little more open now than they were maybe three or four years ago," she said.
We asked to talk with Mayor Morrissey about property taxes, but he didn’t call us back.
The last day to file a complaint with the assessor’s office is September 10.
WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) – Phones are ringing off the hook at the Winnebago County Assessor’s Office.
Homeowners have until September 10th to file complaints about their property tax assessments. The assessor’s office has received about 600 complaints so far, which is about normal, but they’ve gotten hundreds more calls than usual. A group called Concerned Citizens for Rockford is encouraging us to file complaints to send a message that taxes in the city of Rockford are too high and home values are too low.
“I'm like a number of people in Rockford stuck with their houses and their values and it's not a good situation. It's very sad because some people have lost their homes because of this because they can't afford to pay the taxes to live in their own home,” said Jim Novak.
We asked Mayor Morrissey for comment, but didn’t hear back.