The Niles Township High School District 219 school board agreed Monday night to continue working with other school districts and other taxing bodies in Niles Township to fight efforts from property owners to get refunds on their property taxes.
The school board agreed to authorize the law firm Franczek Radelet P.C. to act on behalf of the Niles Township Property Tax Appeals Cooperative in challenging appeals filed for assessment years 2010-11 before the Cook County Board of Review, and to pay the cooperative more than $35,000 for work done on behalf of the district so far.
That includes fighting property tax appeals filed by dozens of property owners. While some are individual homeowners, most are commercial properties, and several would cost the district more than $100,000 if they are successful.
Both actions were on the district’s consent agenda, which was approved without discussion. In the background materials provided to school board members, Superintendent Nanciann Gatta wrote, “I believe the effort of the Niles Township Property Tax Appeals Cooperative is saving the district hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax refunds that would have otherwise been granted.”
District 219 includes and high schools.
The refunds would come if the Illinois Property Tax Appeals Board agreed with the property owners that their properties are not worth as much as the Cook County Assessor said they were. Because appeals are not granted until after the tax extension has been decided and property tax bills have been sent out, the money that would have to be refunded would come out of tax revenue the district was counting on getting, and the district would have no way to make that shortfall up.
Some of the largest possible losses could have come with the proposed reassessment of the Inland Shops at Orchard Place, 9601 N. Skokie Blvd. in Skokie. The shopping center’s owners wanted a more than $2.4 million reduction in its assessed value. That would cost District 219 $145,764. It also would cost Skokie Elementary District 68 $133,146, and the Skokie Park District and Public Library District each more than $25,856.
Owners of the W.W. Grainger property at 5959 W. Howard in Niles are seeking to reduce their assessment by $2.1 million; that would cost District 219 $128,197. It would also cost Fairview South Elementary District 72 $96,239, according to the reports presented to the school board.