Cicero, Salina consider sharing assessors

"All Cicero business would take place in the Cicero office," Brennan said.

Yancey said Salina was an ideal partner for Cicero.

"If there were ever two towns that were alike, it is Cicero and Salina," she said.

Cicero and Salina both have approximately 13,500 parcels, most of which are residential. Salina has assessed at full value for about the last nine years; Brennan was assessor when the town made the switch.

Dudzinski said the move has the support of the state Office of Real Property Services.

The state of assessments in Cicero is poor; the town tried to reevaluate about a third of its properties last spring and faced extreme opposition from residents. As a result, the town rolled back those re-assessments to their 2007 levels.

In order to address the issue, the town formed a committee made up of citizens, professionals and town board member Charlotte Tarwacki. The committee called for the town to switch from partial to full assessments (as about 65 percent of towns in the state use), to add staff at the assessor's office, to improve the grievance process and to conduct a town-wide reassessment over the next two years.

The committee came up with their recommendations by working with representatives from the state and county offices of real property tax services, as well as several assessors from neighboring municipalities.

The town will have to pay an independent contractor to reevaluate all of the parcels at a cost of $40 to $60 per parcel.

"That needs to be done regardless of what assessor you get," Brennan said. "And if you do get a new assessor, it's important that the assessor has been through a revaluation project and knows how to oversee that."

Tarwacki said she wasn't sure combining assessors now was a good idea.

"Your statements say to me that we do need one person to oversee this reval," she said. "It wouldn't be very hard to take on an assessor for two or three years and then consider consolidation once things are put together correctly, once the reval is done."

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