Illinois Review

CHICAGO—The office of Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Dan Patlak will conduct an assessment appeal seminar in Bremen Township. The seminar will be hosted by Oak Forest Mayor Hank Kuspa.

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

“Property taxes are high enough already without having to pay extra because of an inaccurate assessment,” said Patlak. “Our office is here to assist property owners who are over assessed.  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 Commissioner Patlak.

Time and location of the seminar is as follows:

·         January 27, 2011 : 6:30 p.m. at Oak Forest City Hall, 15440 South Central Ave., Oak Forest, IL

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 436,000 appeals. Fulfilling his promise to work full-time at the Board of Review, Commissioner Patlak is one of the most qualified individuals to ever occupy a Board seat. As a Certified Illinois Assessing Officer, he is professionally trained in property valuation, having worked as an analyst at the Board for eight years and as a local Township Assessor in Wheeling Township. Patlak is also a licensed real estate broker.

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

January 2011 CYR Member Only Dinner

January 2011 CYR Member Only Dinner


Dan Patlak Commissioner of the Cook County Board of Review (1st District)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 6pm

505 N. LaSalle St., Suite 350

We will have a chance to talk to Dan about his strategy for victory in what turned out to be a tough year for Republicans in Cook County.

Member only dinners are limited to 10 CYR Members in good standing and offer an opportunity to sit down and talk with elected officials over a casual dinner.

RSVP required. Purchase tickets below.

Cost $25 for CYR Members
Join or Renew CYR Membership Dues & Attend $60
Casual dinner and drinks included.

Contact Jim at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with any questions.


Patlak assumes Murphy’s old seat on Cook County Board

By Illinois Review

Congratulations to the newest Cook County Board of Review member Dan Patlak, who will be sworn in today. Dan, who anyone who's attended any Republican function in Cook County over the past two years has had to have met, is one of Cook County's hardest working Repulicans and one that in our opinion has earned the tough job he won on November 2.

Dan ousted Brendan Houlihan, who defeated former Board of Review member Maureen Murphy in 2006. Patlak worked for Murphy during her term as commissioner, and learned first hand her passion and commitment to Cook County property owners. There's no doubt Mrs. Murphy, who passed away in 2008 after a long battle with lung cancer, would be very pleased that Dan's picked up the Republican mantle of service on the all-important Cook County Board of Review.

With Patlak's swearing in today, he becomes the highest ranked elected Republican in Cook County. No one could serve in that spot with more commiment and humility than Dan Patlak. Our congratulations and best wishes as he tackles one of the most scandal-plagued bodies in Cook County. We wish him success and lots of revealing sunshine on that board's work in the tough days ahead.


Cook County tax rates generally stable


But will tax bills follow suit?

With local governments' tax collections tied to the Consumer Price Index in the midst of a harsh recession, many Cook County property owners should see little increase in their second-installment tax bills being mailed out this week, according to Clerk David Orr's Office.

Tax rates for some of the county's 1,500 taxing bodies went down, Orr disclosed Monday. Tax rates for Northwest suburban schools, which typically make up about half of a person's tax bill, dropped or increased modestly, with several exceptions.

Coupled with lower property assessments for homeowners across the county, that should mean few surprises on many bills being mailed out on Wednesday, said Bill Vaselopulos of the clerk's office.

But some areas where rates rose higher could buck that trend, and

one wild card could push individual homeowners' tax bills up, Vaselopulos said.

That's the record 430,000 property assessment appeals filed with the Cook County Board of Review half again more than the previous record of 280,000, and almost a quarter of the county's 1.8 million properties.

Homeowners could see significant increases in their tax bills if many of their neighbors won significant assessment reductions and they did not, or if highly valued commercial property nearby had its assessment lowered.

"Your increases or decreases are due to everyone else's increases or decreases in your area," Vaselopulos said.

Among the highest tax rate increases for schools, Des Plaines Elementary District 62's rate rose 7 percent and Elk Grove Township District 59's rate rose 7.46 percent, which officials in District 59 attributed to reduced assessed property value in the school district.

During his unsuccessful campaign for Cook County assessor, Chicago Democratic Commissioner Forrest Claypool put out a list of the 300 largest assessment reductions in the county, many of which were in the suburbs. He charged that the Board of Review assessment reductions for big commercial properties would shift the tax burden to homeowners.

Joe Fratto, chief deputy treasurer under Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, said his office did not yet have figures for the average increase or decrease seen in the second-installment tax bills, which will go out Wednesday with a due date of Dec. 13. He said property owners can check their bills Wednesday online at

In the back and forth on the way to setting tax bills, Assessor James Houlihan lowered homeowners' assessments across the county this year, and the Board of Review granted a record number of reductions in assessment appeals. The state Department of Revenue made up for that by setting a record-high equalizer of 3.3701, meant to bring Cook County's assessment levels in line with those elsewhere in the state.

Tax caps limited the increase in tax collections to 0.1 percent, the increase in the Consumer Price Index, in many districts.

Cook County is raising $11.3 billion in property-tax revenue this year, up 1.8 percent from $11.1 billion last year, Vaselopulos said. The lion's share of the increase is in the suburbs, but even at that it's a 2.78 percent increase in suburban Cook County, he said.

Vaselopulos said that with 1,500 taxing bodies creating 2,500 different combinations in tax bills across the county, "to make a generalization is very hard," but that most homeowners should see little increase in their tax bills.

First-installment 2010 bills will be due April 1, a month later than usual, Fratto said, in part because the second-installment 2009 bills are going out so late this year.  


The Berrios vacancy


Joe Berrios won election Tuesday as Cook County assessor. He'll leave the county Board of Review — his appeals board's formal name — to take the new gig. After which the appeals board on which Berrios now sits will affirm or reject the property valuations of ... Joe Berrios, assessor.

Property tax attorneys no doubt hope that Berrios will be replaced on the tax appeals board by a like-minded officeholder. Berrios accepts campaign cash from lawyers whose big clients have an uncanny habit of then receiving reductions in their property valuations. It's a zero-sum game: When those building owners pay less, the rest of us pay more.

The job of appointing Berrios' successor on the appeals board falls to Judge Timothy Evans, the head of Cook County's court system. By law, Evans' choice must be a member of Berrios' political party. Democrats, start your applications.

Berrios has dominated the three-member tax appeals board, which needs an infusion of businesslike efficiency and modern technology. Evans can make a hugely positive change in this powerful if obscure backwater: Whomever he appoints will join another new board member, Republican Dan Patlak, who formerly worked at the board and has served as Wheeling Township assessor. On Tuesday, Patlak ousted incumbent Democrat Brendan Houlihan. The third board member, Democrat Larry Rogers Jr., has two years left in his term.

Regular Dems likely will press Evans to select someone who'll protect Berrios — he runs the county Democratic Party — by not aggressively second-guessing his office's property valuations. We hope Evans instead chooses someone with Patlak's strong background in assessment to replace Berrios. Installing another Democratic insider could worsen this office's already dismal reputation as a pay-to-play haven, and further delay the tech overhaul it needs.

Evans told us Friday that he's looking not only for someone who is fair and impartial, but who is willing to lower or raise property valuations if that's what a review of the numbers dictates. That will rattle lawyers who reflexively file appeals regardless of the merits.

Judge Evans, you'll draw a lot of attention with this appointment. Please make it on behalf of taxpayers who need more fairness in property valuations — not on behalf of tax attorneys who want someone to accept their donations and smile on their clients.


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