Evanston commercial property assessment increases property owners’ worry

Property+owners+discuss+increased+property+assessments+with+representatives+from+the+Cook+County+Assessor%27s+office.+They+expressed+concern+over+how+these+increases+will+affect+their+property+taxes.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Evanston commercial property assessment increases property owners’ worry

Property owners discuss increased property assessments with representatives from the Cook County Assessor's office. They expressed concern over how these increases will affect their property taxes.

Property owners discuss increased property assessments with representatives from the Cook County Assessor's office. They expressed concern over how these increases will affect their property taxes.

Evan Robinson-Johnson/Daily Senior Staffer

Property owners discuss increased property assessments with representatives from the Cook County Assessor's office. They expressed concern over how these increases will affect their property taxes.

Evan Robinson-Johnson/Daily Senior Staffer

Evan Robinson-Johnson/Daily Senior Staffer

Property owners discuss increased property assessments with representatives from the Cook County Assessor's office. They expressed concern over how these increases will affect their property taxes.

Cassidy Wang, Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Shaun Chinsky’s family has owned Good’s of Evanston since 1903. Fifty years ago, they bought the 714 Main St. building the business currently operates in.

However, the future of Chinsky’s small business could change drastically if his next property tax bill parallels the property value assessment he recently received. He said the assessment more than doubled between 2016 and 2019.

Chinsky, along with other commercial property owners, expressed concern over the recent Evanston assessments from the Cook County Assessor’s office at a public meeting Monday at the Evanston Public Library.

Chinsky said if property tax increases are close to what the assessment increases have been, some companies will go out of business.

“I know people that just cannot withstand,” Chinsky told The Daily. “I don’t know what we’ll do. But it will absolutely change the way that we function if we get a giant increase.”

At the meeting, assessors from the office tried to make their methods more transparent and answered questions about the appeals process.

According to the 2019 assessment report, the average value of all commercial assessments increased since the last assessment in 2016. The average assessed value of apartments increased 281 percent, reflecting significant new construction. Commercial and retail assessments increased 92 percent while offices and industrial assessments increased 71 and 46 percent respectively.

At the meeting, one property owner said the assessment of one of his buildings increased by about 400 percent.

Evanston building owners like Chinsky are worried the increase in property value assessments will translate to higher property taxes.

“The only communication most people receive about their property taxes is when their assessment notices are mailed out and when their property taxes are mailed out,” said Scott Smith, the Chief Communications Officer of the Cook County Assessor’s office.

Smith said when people receive their assessment notices in the mail, there is a “natural tendency” to think the increase in assessment values will mean increased property taxes.

But Smith said the increase in property assessments does not necessarily mean there will be a drastic increase in future property taxes. Although determining property taxes starts with a property assessment, it is followed by an appeals process, review by the board, and the application of a tax rate and state equalizer.

“It is not the beginning and end of a story when you receive a property assessment notice,” Smith said.

However, the uncertainty of the effect of property taxes is difficult for small business owners like Chinsky. He said he has stopped looking at his building as a piece of real estate, but instead as a utility. The building is not worth more than the utility he gets out of it, he said.

“The way that we value our building isn’t the way the market values it,” Chinsky said during the meeting. “It’s the utility you get out of it. If we’re forced to look at the market value and pay taxes based on the market value, the only way we can attain the proper value out of the property value is to sell it.”

Although adjacent buildings are being sold for more money, and buildings like Chinsky’s are being valued higher, he said owners are not getting more value and could instead be subject to higher taxes.

The “giant unknown” of future property taxes imposed on property owners represents just one challenge to small businesses, Chinsky said, in addition to competition from companies like Amazon. The combination of economic burdens could drive more small businesses out of Evanston.

“This is like retail gentrification, where you’re costing people out of the marketplace,” Chinsky said.

Email: cassidywang2022@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @cassidyw_

Comments