A Publication of WTVP

The first elected term of our current township assessor, Bonnie Gavin, was January 2002 to December 2005, although she had been appointed in December 2000 to complete the term of the previous assessor. However, she's been in the assessor's office since January 1988; prior to being appointed and elected as our city's assessor, she was the chief deputy to the assessor. By now, she's got the job description down pat: the township assessor is responsible for valuing real estate, which the county clerk uses to set the real estate tax rates.

One of the biggest challenges the assessor's office faces is keeping current with changes in the laws and trying to explain the property tax system to taxpayers so they can understand why and how properties are valued. The assessor receives annual training to fulfill the many responsibilities of the office.

Gavin is supported by a current staff of eight experienced, dedicated employees who've been trained to be polite and as helpful as possible with taxpayers' questions and/or concerns. They maintain an open and accessible office where taxpayers are treated fairly.

To serve the taxpayers in a professional and timely manner, Gavin is required by law to maintain training of 16 hours per year or 48 hours over a three-year period. The courses are established by the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) and are administered by the IDOR or by the Illinois Property Assessment Institute located in Bloomington.

The goal of the assessor is to value real estate to assure statewide equalization. The assessor determines the equalized value of property to ensure each taxpayer pays only his or her fair share of the taxes, while maintaining the principal of local control and providing information to the public so they might acquire a better understanding of the appraisal and assessment process.

Every four years, the assessor's office revalues all properties-including new construction. All sales data is collected and analyzed, and the properties are valued based on the current market. In addition to arriving at the fair market value of properties, annually the assessor's office keeps track of ownership changes, maintains maps of parcel boundaries, keeps descriptions of buildings and property characteristics up to date, and keeps track of the properties eligible for exemptions. They maintain records for all exempt properties in the City of Peoria and verify all fire-damaged parcels. They also analyze the trends in sales prices and construction costs.

The assessor provides the township a levy-the amount of revenue a township expects to receive through real estate taxes. The amount received is determined by the county clerk, as is the tax rate. The levy is based on the prior year's equalized assessed values.

The assessor is responsible for valuing real estate property with the highest standards of professionalism, using the broadest application of proper appraisal methods, as well as techniques and standards available. All of these systems and procedures help to assure statewide equalization in the valuation of property. IBI