Each year, homeowners watch their tax bills go up despite a lower home assessment, and they want to know why. That’s where Uwe Rotter comes in.
He is the Blackberry Township assessor who, for three out of the five years he’s held the position, has held taxpayer workshops every month of the year.
“Other townships may have workshops around tax time, but I feel it’s important to provide residents with this opportunity year-round because we have transient neighborhoods,” Rotter said. “New people move into the area and are not aware of the Illinois taxpayer system.”
The workshops are on the fourth Thursday of January through October and the third Thursday in November and December, with sessions starting at 7 p.m.. And lately, the turnout has been bleak.
While 15 residents are the most Rotter has seen, lately only two or three have attended the workshops. He guesses that’s because taxes are not something people want to think about. But he is ready to answer questions.
“I am a proponent for the taxpayer, not an opponent,” Rotter said.
In addition to the workshops, the assessor’s office is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every weekday. After tax bills are sent to residents, the office stays open until 9 p.m. to accommodate those who want to take advantage of the 30-day assessment appeal period. And for the convenience of residents throughout the township, the venue for the workshops varies from month to month between Elburn, North Aurora and Geneva.
The questions Rotter hears often at workshops are about the property tax cycle (how property tax is determined) and the assessment development procedure. Rotter explains that when property taxes are raised, it usually doesn’t have anything to do with the assessment of your home but rather an increased levy.
Many topics are covered at the monthly workshops, and Rotter said he will answer every question, no matter how long it takes.
Elburn Village President Dave Anderson has attended some workshops and said Rotter “does a phenomenal job of explaining everything to the taxpayers that show up.” The workshops are educational, Anderson said. “Uwe takes the time to tell people what their tax bill is made up of.”
The next workshop will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at Tanner Trail Community Church in North Aurora. To see the complete calendar of taxpayer workshops, visit Blackberry Township’s website at www.blackberrytwp.com. Click on the “Assessor’s Office” link and then on the “Workshops” link.