QUINCY -- Property tax bills paid by Quincy homeowners this year are expected to rise at least 2.9 percent because of higher tax levies and 1 percent based on a state-issued multiplier.
Tax revenues for the seven taxing units in Quincy will rise by almost $1.86 million.
Quincy taxpayer Michael Black said rising tax bills are beyond frustrating for him and many other taxpayers.
"Not everybody gets a pay raise every year like that. I'm sure a lot of people with service jobs didn't get any pay raise this year. At some point this is going to have to stop," Black said.
Adams County Clerk Chuck Venvertloh understands that frustration because every year he fields complaints from taxpayers who blame him for higher property taxes. Although his office handles tax levy requests from taxing districts, he doesn't get a vote on tax rates.
"I'm just the taker of the information. I'm not the one raising the taxes," Venvertloh said.
Local tax units make their levy requests each year under a state-ordered deadline during ?December. Those requests then are checked against state taxing limits.
Last month, Venvertloh's office had to trim $83,315.66 from the Adams County Board's levy request because it would have exceeded a 5 percent tax increase. Venvertloh said the county failed to file notice that it might be raising taxes more than 5 percent. When the final request was made, it would have led to a 5.88 percent tax hike of a little more than $10 million. That was trimmed to $9,974,884.
"It's not unusual to have a typo or have to trim the levy requests," Venvertloh said.
And taxing districts can seek hikes of more than 5 percent, as long as they give public notice and hold a public hearing.
The Quincy City Council narrowly approved a property tax hike of 6.87 percent on Dec. 17, raising collections by $457,940. It took multiple votes to pass the levy, which was down about $600,000 from an earlier proposal.
The Quincy School District raised its property taxes by 1.8 percent, but because the district represents 55.7 percent of tax bills, the increase of $651,586 will represent the largest tax hike for Quincy taxpayers.
Quincy Township Assessor Lisa Gasko said the Illinois Department of Revenue issued a small tax multiplier of 1.01 for 2018 taxes, which will be paid this year. The multiplier will result in a 1 percent increase that is meant to keep up with property values.
"We do a sales ratio study every year and we use a three-year average" to determine how property values are rising or falling, Gasko said.
Quincy Township took a hit from property tax appeals last year on large commercial properties that contributed to that multiplier.
The Illinois Department of Revenue and Adams County Supervisor of Assessments Georgene Zimmerman also runs those property sales numbers. Rising prices can boost the multiplier. If prices are lower than expected, a multiplier of less than 1 will be used to reduce assessments.
Zimmerman then sets multipliers for each of the county's 27 townships and the IDOR later determines a countywide multiplier if any further adjustments are needed.
Property owners still must wait to see whether tax bills will rise by more than the cumulative 3.9 percent that's dictated by higher levies and the multiplier.
"They have to come up with the EAV (Equalized Assessed Valuation), and that usually happens not too long before tax bills come out in May," Gasko said.
Establishing an EAV involves more complex math. Then the tax rates are set after final adjustments that factor in which properties are taxed and any exclusions.
"They have to take off all the exemptions from property taxes," Gasko said.
Property owners who live in their homes can receive homestead exemptions. There also are senior exemptions, a senior freeze for people 65 and older who earn under $65,000, an exemption for people with disabilities and one for disabled veterans.
"The exemption for veterans is one of the newer ones. If they have a service-connected disability of 70 percent or higher, they are no longer paying a tax bill," Gasko said.
Homeowners also can seek an exemption on the improvement's value for four years.
Illinois is a high property tax state, relying on local property taxes to cover a majority of the funds for schools.
Mike Klemens, a former IDOR employee who now writes for the Taxpayers Federation of Illinois, said property taxes are unpopular in part because the "tax bill arrives all in one big chunk." By comparison, income taxes come out of paychecks a little bit at a time, and sales taxes are collected in small percentages with each purchase.
"It's the most-hated tax," Klemens said in a story he wrote for the March edition of TFI's Tax Facts.
Property taxes in Quincy
Tax year 2017 2018 Percent
Quincy Public Schools $36,116,990 $36,768,576 +1.8%
Adams County Board $9,499,889 $9,974,884 +5%
JWCC $7,827,533 $8,083,282 +3.27%
Quincy City $6,663,766 $7,121,706 +6.87%
Quincy Park Dist. $3,524,488 $3,542,224 5%
Quincy Township $332,067 $332,000 -0.02%
Quincy Biz Dist. $95,000 $95,912 +0.96%
TOTAL $64,059,733 $65,918,584 2.9%