Photo Gallery: A Peek Inside the Cook County Board of Review

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Commissioner Dan Patlak

Patlak said the board offers information in languages other than English such as Hindi, Arabic, Spanish in an effort to improve transparency.


Taxpayer Advocates Call For Civic Engagement

From The Patch

Newly elected Cook County Board of Review (BOR) Commissioner Dan Patlak highlighted some similar goals when he sat down with Patch in early March. As a former township assessor in Cook County, he said he knows firsthand the confusion at the ground level. Check out today's photo gallery of the Cook County Board of Review to get an inside peek behind the files.

“We are trying to get as much education out there as possible to as many people as we can,” Patlak said. “We recently hired someone who speaks Polish, and today 10 people came in asking for property appeals in Polish.”

Patlak also mentioned that collectively members of his staff spoke Hindi, Punjabi, Greek, French, Arabic and Spanish as language alternatives. He said the diverse range of languages makes the appeal process smoother.

When citizens begin to understand the issues surrounding Cook County property taxes, they are also better prepared to assess their own situations.

Chatriwala is an example of one inquiring citizen. “If I had this business in DuPage County, I wouldn’t be complaining because I would be paying $400 or $500 dollar per month in property taxes,” he said. “I have friends who own property in DuPage County, and when we compare apples to apples, property tax is much less in DuPage County.”

The impact of losing businesses in Cook County is another piece of the complicated property tax puzzle that Patlak says is important for residents to understand.

“Losing one business property is like losing two-and-a-half residential properties to us,” said Patlak, referring to the tiered system of assessment in Cook County that results in a disproportionate amount of tax revenue coming from businesses.

“What you see are big streets with great tracks of vacant property, so not only is there no place to shop conveniently, but little property tax from businesses in these communities,” he said.

“People need to know that when there is vacant commercial space, the property values goes down, and property taxes for residents go up to help pay for the tax burden of local taxing bodies like schools.”


Cook County Board Of Review Progress Report

Fellow Good Government Supporters,

It has been two months since my swearing in on December 6th and I thought it would be appropriate to reach out to give you a progress report.

Following our victory in November, our first order of business was to assemble a staff that would have as its main focus, serving the needs of the residents of the 1st Board of Review District as well as all residents of Cook County. We have assembled a team capable of serving resident needs by bringing on board individuals with a variety of backgrounds, experience and education. Among our new hires is a former Township Assessor and Board of Review analyst, a certified residential appraiser, two law school graduates, a former County Commissioner, three MBA’s with strong business backgrounds and a CPA. We also have several individuals with strong technology backgrounds. Among our group, we have individuals who are fluent in Spanish, French, German, Greek, Polish, Hindi, Punjabi and Arabic to support the diverse needs of our taxpayer population.

Immediately upon being sworn in we began the process of professionalizing the office by training staff internally and externally, an effort which is a continuing process. Many will be attending a free class on assessments which will be offered by the Illinois Department of Revenue and several will be taking classes which will make them Certified Illinois Assessing Officers before the end of the year.

We have reviewed the Board’s web site and will soon be making changes to bring it up to date and make it more user friendly. In addition we are developing a video tour of the Board, at no cost, which will describe what happens to an appeal/complaint once it is received; this video will be available online.

To improve transparency, we have reached out to all thirty township assessor offices and invited each to take a tour of the Board so that their staffs will be better informed to help their local constituents. As of today, twenty offices have attended the two hour tour and presentation provided by our team with very positive feedback from the assessors.

We have begun conducting Assessment Appeals Seminars in those townships open or about to be open for appeal at the Board of Review.  Seminars have been completed in Westchester, Tinley Park, Oak Forest, La Grange Park, Berwyn, Barrington and Evanston. Additional seminars will be completed throughout the first district before the end of the assessment review cycle for the tax year 2010. Earlier this month we held a seminar in New Trier Township which was followed by an on-line interview.

After reviewing the letter appellants receive from the Board informing them of their hearing date, we decided to do a complete rewrite to make it more informative and less threatening. Taxpayers now know that if they are unable to attend their hearing, their file will still receive the same consideration it would if they had attended.

As a full time commissioner I continue to be grateful for the trust you have placed in me and commit to doing my best for you everyday.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.

In your service,

Dan Patlak, Commissioner

Cook County Board Of Review


Journal & Topics - Here's How To Appeal Tax Assessment

The office of Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Dan Patlak will conduct two assessment appeal seminars in Maine Township. The first seminar on Wednesday, Mar. 2 will be hosted by Des Plaines Mayor Martin Moylan followed by a second seminar on Thursday, Mar. 10 hosted by Maine Township Assessor Tom Rueckert.

The hour-long seminars will educate taxpayers on the overall process, explaining how to file and present evidence for a successful appeal.

The seminar is designed to de-mystify the assessment appeal process. Taxpayers who make a convincing case for assessment reduction will receive the tax relief to which they are entitled," stated Board of Review Commissioner Dan Patlak.

Time and location of the seminars are as follows:

• Mar. 2: 6:30 p.m. at Des Plaines City Hall, Council Chambers- 1st Floor, 1420 Miner St., Des Plaines.

• Mar. 10: 7 p.m. at the Maine Township Office, 1700 Ballard Rd., Park Ridge.

The Cook County Board of Review listens to, and rules on, appeals from taxpayers asking for property tax relief. Last year, the Board reviewed over 439,000 appeals.

For more information, taxpayers are invited to call (312) 603-3644.


Dan Patlak Sworn In As Cook County Board Of Review Commissioner

On December 6th Dan Patlak was sworn is as a Cook County Board Of Review Commissioner.  Below are some images of Dan with his family and staff.

Dan Patlak with his entire staff and family.

Dan Patlak with wife Dulce and son Teddy.



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