Dispute over Yingling’s property taxes showcases political fight over county assessor’s position
State Rep. Sam Yingling (D-Grayslake) pays less in property taxes on his 3,460-square-foot Highland Lake home than he did six years ago, a review of records at the Lake County assessors office shows.
In 2012, he paid $14,861.04 in taxes. Last year he paid $14,014.42.
The assessed value of Yingling’s home at 21870 Washington St. at $100 a square foot, moreover, is far lower than the assessed value of other homes in Avon Township and in nearby communities. The values of comparable homes in Third Lake, for example, were $182 per square foot. Additional comparisons of the value of Yingling’s home against other homes are listed on scamyingling.com.
A source, who asked not to be named, called the Avon Township assessor’s office seeking an explanation into the disparity in the values of the homes.
He told the Lake County Gazette that the lower assessments of Yingling’s home and some 20 others on the lake stem from one of the homeowners, not Yingling, reaching out to Lake County Assessor Marty Paulson in 2016 complaining that the homes were being assessed unfairly.
“The bottom line is that some lake bottom property was being assessed as usable land," the source said. "Paulson reached out to Chris Ditton (Avon Township assessor), and the adjustments were made.”
The source sent the Gazette a string of e-mail conversations between Paulson and Ditton discussing the properties.
Yingling’s office did not return a request for comment.
Yingling is behind legislation approved just before the end of the legislative session in Springfield that would make the Lake County assessor, now an appointed position, an elected one.
In published reports, Yingling has said an elected assessor would be fairer and more transparent.
The legislation grew in part from skirmishes some of the township assessors have had with Paulson, including court challenges that have been tossed.
Craig Taylor, Lake County board member, defended Paulson saying, “he might not have the best bedside manner, but he’s the consummate professional.”
Taylor added that that the majority of Illinois counties appoint their assessors; and if a change is made, it should be on a statewide basis.
“This bill was rushed through Springfield,” he said, referring to the Yingling legislation. “The issue should be thoroughly reviewed. Just look how Cook County turned out.”
In Cook County, elected Assessor Joseph Berrios lost decisively in the March 20 primary to Fritz Kaegi, who charged that the county’s tax system under Berrios was being set up to help the wealthy and the politically connected.
On July 10, the Lake County board approved a resolution asking the governor to use his amendatory veto power on the Yingling bill.
|A year-by-year breakdown of Yingling's property taxes|