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Chicago homeowners can expect higher property tax bills this year

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On average, Chicagoans can expect to see a 10 percent increase in their property tax bill for 2017

Curbed Chicago Flickr pool/Gabriel X. Michael

As a part of a record property tax hike plan passed by the Chicago City Council in 2015, property taxes are being increased once again on Cook County homeowners. According to the Chicago Tribune, Cook County homeowners can, on average, expect to see an increase of 10 percent in their second installment of bills for 2017.

The hike in 2017 is the second of four years of planned consecutive increases to help shore up the city’s police and firefighters pension shortfall. However, the Tribune reports that roughly three-fifths of the funds collected from this year’s property tax increase will go towards Chicago Public Schools contributions to the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund.

While the Windy City’s financial outlook is certainly troubling, Chicago homeowners generally pay far less in property taxes than those in suburban Cook County and collar counties. However, Cook County homeowners are in for two more years of property tax increases—which over fours years is expected to contribute over $500 million to Chicago’s pension crisis. The hundreds of millions being raised are certainly helpful; however, the property tax increase is far from a comprehensive fix for the problem.

In its recently published series of reports under the title “The Tax Divide,” the Tribune explores and highlights the inequity in property tax evaluations throughout the county. The Tribune reviewed more than 1.4 million sales since 2003 and found that the assessor’s office has for years continued to overvalue homes in south and west side neighborhoods, while undervaluing homes throughout the wealthier North Side.