Cook County looks to get tax bills out on time
Updated: June 4, 2012 10:32AM
Cook County property owners, prepare: Second-installment tax bills may actually go out on time this year — a first in four decades.
That means they’ll likely be in the mail July 1 and due Aug. 1 — the statutory deadline — not some unpredictable date in the fall, county tax officials say.
Over the years, the usual delay has been blamed on everything from inefficient bureaucracies to politics. In 2010, critics charged that powerful Democrats, fearing voter backlash, were behind the plan to delay Cook County tax bills until after the Nov. 2 election.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle made “getting the tax bills out on time” a refrain on the campaign trail and during discussions of government efficiency; and county elected leaders involved in putting the bills together nodded in agreement.
Delays in sending out the tax bills cause delays in getting money to taxing districts — such as schools and libraries — forcing officials to borrow money until they get their piece of the property-tax pie.
Officials say borrowing money because of delays burdens taxpayers who have to cover the interest on the loans.
“It’s all about saving money,” said Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios, whose office sets the property values that taxes are based on in Cook County.