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Property values in Lake County dropped a total of 6.1% in 2013. The declines range from a drop of 3.8% in Ela Township to 15.4% in Waukegan Township. These numbers reflect a drop in property value after applying the state multiplier.
Lake County’s state multiplier was one. The multiplier is a countywide factor issued by the IL Department of Revenue to “balance out” any over- or under-assessments. It raises or lowers everyone’s assessed value, before exemptions. A multiplier of one means that there was no correction needed.
The state multiplier affects every parcel in Lake County (except for farm land), yielding almost no effect on the tax bills, as taxes are only affected by changes in value relative to surrounding properties. The only properties affected are those in districts overlapping into another county with a different multiplier.
There is a common misconception that if property values drop, taxes will drop. Property value is only half of the equation. The other half is tax levies set by districts.
The statutory “tax cap” rate is designed to float inversely to property values. As values go down, rates go up, to ensure district tax revenues remain stable (regardless of property value changes) unless a district lowers its levy below their limit.
In 47 districts, the district’s 2013 tax amount was lower than their 2012 amount, either due to statutory limits enforced by the County Clerk’s Office, or by the district voluntarily lowering their levy.
For more information on property taxes, watch this video.