Cook County Assessor’s Office Accomplishments

Lowered tax bills for homeowners for the first time in nearly a decade

Our administration’s hallmark has been to make assessments more equitable. 

Tax bills for most Chicagoans fell last year, halting a 20-year trend where the median homeowner’s bill grew 4% per year, faster than the annual growth (3%) in commercial. This is a great result, given that Chicago raised its tax levy. 

Across the County as a whole, the median residential bill grew just +1% for the second straight year. This was well below the annual trend for the last 20 years. 

The common driver in all these places was that homeowners had a smaller share of the levy burden. Crain’s Chicago Business calls this the Kaegi Effect.

Produced assessments that met standards for equity, accuracy and uniformity

The International Association of Assessing Officers—the gold standard in our field—recently published a study showing that our reassessment of the north suburbs met industry standards for accuracy, equity, and uniformity for the first time in memory.  

  • Initial tests show similar, broad improvement for the South Suburbs and Chicago, creating savings for the average homeowner. We expect future IAAO studies to show the same.  
  • Crain’s did an extensive analysis of our revaluation of downtown Chicago. It found that our numbers were not only much more accurate, but actually could be said to be conservative.

Ensured the Assessor’s Office has become an award-winning national leader on transparency and public service

In 2021, the International Association of Assessing Officers presented our office with an award for our outstanding public information and outreach during the COVID-19 pandemic. That same year, the National Association of Counties gave the office an award for its digital innovation efforts. This marked the first time the office received awards for its work in these areas.

Helped pass critical legislation on auto renewal of senior exemptions & affordable housing

We achieved several hard-earned legislative wins for Cook County residents. 

  • Automatic Senior Exemption Renewal: The bill, which we championed in partnership with Rep. Crespo, amends the Illinois Property Tax Code so that a person who has been granted a Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption in Cook County will not need to reapply for the exemption every year.
  • Omnibus Affordable Housing Bill: The bill, which we worked alongside a broad coalition of advocates to pass, incentivizes construction of new and renovated rental housing tied to incomes, rather than market rates. Our office will begin implementing it in 2022, following our extensive work with sponsors Feigenholtz and Gillespie.
  • Auto-Renewal of Exemptions for Veterans with Disabilities, Senior Freeze, and People With Disabilities: We worked to pass legislation that allows these exemptions to automatically renew for taxpayers during the pandemic, saving some of our most vulnerable from the hardship of reapplying.

Drove major leaps forward on technology to better serve the public

We’ve launched several major technological improvements in three years:

  • Created a new, easier-to-use, online appeals process, now processing hundreds of thousands of cases per year;
  • Created an online exemption application process;
  • Launched a new, streamlined phone and online appointment system;
  • Installed new call center technology installed and launched a new virtual call center, leading to dramatically lower wait times and call drop rates;
  • Launched new website with upgrades in functionality and accessibility;
  • Updated property imagery and acquired new software which allows us to correct outdated property information without an in-person field inspection;

These improvements from the first phase of the newly integrated computer system replaced the decades-old mainframe with a new, modern system which powers the tax system’s offices in Cook County.

Became an award-winning national leader for transparency

For decades, Cook County’s assessment system has been notorious for being a black box. We have made this office a national leader in transparency in just a few short years.

  • We wrote our residential models in open source code and put them out in public so they could not only be inspected, but also run on other people’s computers.
  • We showed our sources, methods, and assumptions for our commercial assessments.
  • In 2022 we’ll make our commercial models publicly available without requiring a FOIA.
  • Each year we host Market Analyst Day–a review of the past year and a preview of the year to come – for the commercial real estate community, in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office. This event showcase explains our calculations and improves underwriting and predictability.

Demonstrated ethical leadership

We transformed our office’s ethical profile, building trust with residents of Cook County.

  • We put in place a strict Ethics Order that bans gifts and employee political donations to my campaign, limits employee conflicts of interest, and enacts a public visitors’ log.
  • We anonymized commercial appeals, so our analysts do not see the lawyers on the appeals.
  • We made important progress on the path to substantial compliance with the Shakman Federal Consent Decree, including zero findings of Unlawful Political Discrimination.
  • Fritz is the first Cook County Assessor to entirely refuse campaign contributions from lawyers and appraisers practicing before the office.

    Friends for Fritz

    P.O. BOX 64963

    Chicago IL 60664

    Friends for Fritz

    P.O. BOX 64963

    Chicago IL 60664