Cook County logo. WTIP file photo
WTIP file photo

Cook County to hold two Truth in Taxation meetings this year

There’ve been some marathon Truth in Taxation meetings in Cook County in recent years, but the 2020 meeting will shatter all records when it comes to the official length of the annual event where taxpayers can share their thoughts on how county officials spend money.

This year’s Truth in Taxation meeting will last at least one full week. Literally.

Due to delays in mailing local residents their proposed property tax statements and the required notification of the Truth in Taxation meeting, the county will continue the regularly scheduled meeting set for Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. to the following week, Dec. 8, also starting at 6 p.m. Rather than adjourn the Dec. 1 meeting, the Cook County Board of Commissioners will pause the meeting and resume it the following Tuesday, according to County Administrator James Joerke.

Many Cook County taxpayers received their proposed tax statements for 2021 on the final day of November, according to Auditor Braidy Powers. Others, including a collection of residents near Lutsen and the other townships, still had not received their statements as of the morning of Dec. 1.

“They are later than normal this year,” Powers told WTIP on Nov. 30. “It’s not typical for them to arrive one day prior to the TNT meeting.”

The reason for the delay in getting proposed tax statements and the notification of the Truth in Taxation meeting to local taxpayers remains unknown, Joerke said in a live WTIP interview Dec. 1. State statute requires the county to deliver the information to local taxpayers no later than Nov. 24. Joerke said this year’s statements and meeting notification were sent Nov. 23. The reason for the delay in arriving in local mailboxes is the unknown part of the equation, one county officials are still looking to solve.

This year’s Truth in Taxation meeting will take place in a virtual format due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 cases locally means this year’s meeting, both the Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 dates, will be held exclusively online and by phone to limit the further spread of the virus, Joerke said.

Comments can be submitted in writing to the county administrator ahead of the meeting. Click here to send an email to Cook County Administrator Joerke. As of the morning of Dec. 1, no local residents have submitted comments about their property taxes ahead of the Truth in Taxation meeting, Joerke said.

In a September county board meeting, the commissioners agreed to set the 2021 preliminary levy at an increase of just over four percent from 2020. The 4.16 percent increase in the levy cannot exceed this amount when a final levy is set later this year, though it can be lowered.