The assessed value of Oak Park homes has increased on average 38 percent this year, exceeding the previously projected hike by 8 percent, Township Assessor Ali ElSaffar said Monday.
In addition, ElSaffar said the new "7 percent cap" legislation is expected to only fully benefit 20 percent of single-family homeowners. According to the law, residents will be taxed as though their properties have only increased in value by 7 percent per year for each of the next three years, even if the overall assessed value is up by more than 22.5 percent.
In theory, increases beyond 22.5 percent would be covered by the homeowner's exemption, which now tops out?#34;-in the first year?#34;-at $20,000. However, ElSaffar said, for some homeowners, assessed valuations and property values have been so high, that the $20,000 exemption won't completely reduce the taxable value of properties to just 22.5 percent.
ElSaffar added, however, that the new cap will help reduce, to some extent, the increases for all residents. Also, unlike single-family homeowners, 90 percent of condominium owners will enjoy the full benefit of the cap.
Because tax payments are always made a year behind, residents won't see the effects of the new assessment until the fall of 2006. Also, though assessments have increased more than 30 percent, residents won't pay 30 percent more in taxes. Following a reassessment year, tax rates drop. Reassessments determine what share of the total tax burden a homeowner is responsible for.
Until all appeals are resolved, ElSaffar said it's too hard to predict what residents' property tax bills will look like.
All property owners have the opportunity to appeal their assessment increases. Appeals must be filed with the Oak Park Township Assessor's office by August 25.
To make an appoint to discuss filing an appeal, call the Township at 383-8005.
Oak Park Township Assessor Ali ElSaffar will host an open meeting for residents living in the Barrie Park neighborhood from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday at Barrie Center to discuss the unique circumstances surrounding property values in the area.
In the 2002 reassessment, properties directly adjacent to Barrie Park-?#34;then the site of a large-scale environmental cleanup project?#34;were considered to be worth no more than vacant land. At that time, other homes nearby the park saw no increases in assessed value.
ElSaffar said, for the most part, property values in the area have returned to normal, now that the remediation project is complete (this is one reason why property values in the Barrie neighborhood have seen an increase of, on average, over 50 percent). However, he said, some homeowners still may be able to pull together grounds for an appeal.
"Many Realtors have said [Barrie] homes are selling like everywhere else," he said. "But some properties still have problems. In some cases, remediation hasn't been completed or problems haven't been fixed."