When it comes to the Truth in Taxation meeting in Cook County, local officials never know quite what to expect.
“I’m not going to predict what it’s going to be like,” said Cook County Administrator James Joerke.
In 2016, more than 100 people attended the annual meeting, which the county is required to hold under state law each year. That year, the county had preliminary levy of more than 18 percent. In 2021, when the levy increase was in the low single digits, only a handful of people spoke about their property taxes.
The Truth in Taxation meeting this year is Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 6 pm in the commissioners’ room at the courthouse in Grand Marais. The preliminary levy is 5.5 percent.
Truth in taxation statements were mailed by the Cook County Auditor’s Office starting Monday, Nov. 14.
Many property owners will notice an increase in their property values this year, according to county officials, though that does not always equate to an increase in property taxes. The relationship between increasing property values and how much property owners pay in taxes to local government is complex, according to Joerke. For example, if property values increase across the board, the amount the county needs to collect to operate and serve community members does not change. The levy, or the amount of taxes collected, remains the same regardless of how much property values increase, Joerke has explained during numerous county meetings in recent years.
In a September county board meeting, the commissioners agreed to set the 2023 preliminary levy at an increase of 5.5 percent from 2022. The 5.5 percent increase in the levy cannot exceed this amount when a final levy is set later this year, though it can be lowered.
In other county news this week, the county will host a series of meetings that are open to the public on Thursday, Dec. 1. The meetings will focus on the county’s plans to update buildings and other facilities it owns and operates. The meetings, which will all be similar in format, are at 10 am, 2 pm and 6 pm A brief presentation about the capital improvement plan, including a review of some of the ideas being considered for facilities updates, and a question-and- answer period will be featured in each meeting.