President Toni Preckwinkle and Treasurer Maria Pappas were joined by Assessor Joseph Berrios, Clerk David Orr, Recorder of Deeds Eugene Moore and Board of Review Commissioners Michael Cabonargi, Larry Rogers, and Dan Patlak in announcing the creation of a consolidated website that will offer one-stop shopping for property tax information.
“We are making one of the most crucial areas of County government – information about people’s homes and property – more sensitive to their needs, more convenient for their use, more efficient and more transparent for all of our residents,” President Preckwinkle said. “We are working every day to improve services for residents and make key structural changes to government operations that help us engage directly with the people of Cook County.”
Cook County’s new Property Tax Portal, which goes live April 1, is a collaborative effort that combines information from various county offices into one unified site, saving time and promoting efficiency. The site will allow residents to have online access to information they may never have been aware of before – such as appeal or exemption opportunities or liens on their properties.
“Any recorded document or transaction from every one of the 1.8 million parcels of homes, businesses and land in the nation’s second-largest county will find its way to the portal,” said Treasurer Maria Pappas, whose office was instrumental in the creation of the new website. “No more laborious trips from one website to another to find out what you owe, what you paid or didn’t pay, exemptions you should have, refunds waiting for you, and so on.”
Currently, property owners who want to see the tax history of a home, business or land must visit the websites of up to six different county offices to “piece together” the record of ownership, payments, exemptions, appeals, refunds and delinquencies – much of which goes back only one year. When the Property Tax Portal goes live, an owner will get five years of history, in linear form and on a single screen, without having to surf from website to website, determining what is owed, paid, and what refunds might be available. The new portal compiles information from the Treasurer’s Office, the Cook County Assessor’s Office, the Recorder of Deeds, the County Clerk’s Office and the Board of Review, among others.
“As elected officials, it is our responsibility to provide homeowners with as much information as possible when it comes to understanding how the property tax system works,” Assessor Joseph Berrios said. “This portal makes the system as transparent as possible for anyone who owns property in Cook County.”
For example, an owner could enter their Property Index Number, or address, to see if he or she had paid a previous installment, was receiving a tax-lowering exemption, or had a refund coming.
“Taxpayers will no longer have to struggle through the many layers of tax data,” Clerk David Orr said. “Let’s finally take taxpayers out of the property tax pinball machine.”
The Offices of the Assessor, Clerk, Recorder of Deeds and Board of Review are providing the in-depth data needed for the site services. Owners need only enter their Property Index Number to see a screen shot that includes:
· Ownership and liens, from the Recorder of Deeds
· Payments and refunds, from the Treasurer
· Valuation, exemptions and appeals, from the Assessor
· Prior bill statuses, delinquencies and TIF information, from the Clerk
· Appeals, from the Board of Review
The portal will also include features such as a calendar of events and key dates provided by the president’s and the other offices.
The property and taxation offices have been working together closely to implement the Property Tax Portal, as part of President Preckwinkle’s Set Targets, Achieve Results (STAR) performance management initiative, where offices work together to develop concepts that provide better services to constituents through cooperation.
“Homeowners benefit when Cook County government works together,” said Chairman of the Board of Review Michael Cabonargi.
“This consolidated portal will offer another opportunity for homeowners to directly appeal to the Board of Review for a full and fair review of the assessed value of their home,” said Board of Review Commissioner Larry Rogers.
The treasurer’s office spearheaded the design and content of the portal, working with other offices to implement an aggressive 90-day target to complete the first stage of the site by April 1, 2012. The portal was financed in its entirety from the budget of the Office of the Treasurer, at no additional cost to Cook County taxpayers.
LINK (goes live April 1): CookCountyPropertyInfo.com