DANVILLE — Work to ensure the California Ridge wind turbines were on the books this year has pushed back the mailing date for county property tax bills in Vermilion County.
Supervisor of Assessments Matthew Long said his office worked for several months on the 104 wind turbines on the western side of the county, calling the effort “a big project.”
“There was more work than even I realized there would be,” he said.
According to Long, the effort dealt with more than just parcels for the 104 turbines. The supervisor of assessments office also had to deal with parcel splits for the lanes leading from roadways to the turbines.
Long said, in some cases, the lanes cross two or three fields and then split off to three turbines. He said some of the work was outsourced to Bruce Harris and Associates.
Overall, the turbines added about $22.5 million in assessed value. Long noted that not all of the taxes will go down from each taxing body affected by the turbines.
Overall, the property tax bills are in the second of the three-phase process. Vermilion County Clerk Lynn Foster said her office received the information on April 18. The date is later compared to last year when her office got the data on March 15.
Foster estimates her office will have the bills for another two weeks before county Treasurer Sue Stine receives the bills.
She said the system in other counties lets offices do part of the work needed ahead of getting the books.
“We can’t get in and do anything until we get the books and the Board of Review and supervisor of assessments,” she said. “The treasurer can’t do her work until we sign off and give it to her.”
Last year’s bills went out July 12 and Stine estimates this year’s bills will be mailed out around that same week. Her office goes through a 10-day process of printing, folding and testing the bills.
It takes as many as 10 hours to print the estimated 53,000 bills, she said, and another three days to fold the bills. Caution is taken to not print and send out the bills too quickly in case a last-minute error is discovered and changes have to be made, Stine said.
A little more than 51,000 bills were mailed out last year.
That is slightly down from the 52,700 mailed out two years ago.
This is not the first year property tax bills were held up by additional figuring. Property tax bills came out late two years ago as a result of changes in a Tax Increment Financing district for Tilton. The district expanded, prompting additional research and extra work for the county clerk’s office in dealing with some technical issues.
Last year, factoring work created the delay in mailing. The Illinois Department of Revenue had indicated that Vermilion County was over-assessed in some townships. Long had to work on the incorrect townships in order to get things in line with the state’s figures.