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Kaegi’s office needs more staff to keep up with assessments: audit

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi

The Cook County Assessor’s office may need up to five times its current staffing levels to keep up with the dizzying process of assigning valuations to the county’s nearly 2 million property parcels.

That was one conclusion of an audit recently completed by the International Association of Assessing Officers, which also found the office relies on old data collected with antiquated technology, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi requested the audit after taking office in December. It found his office employs 11 staffers for residential property valuations, far short of the 56 recommended by the association.

The audit report, presented to the Cook County Board on Thursday, recommended Kaegi hire 90 “data collectors” to make its information more current. But that could be a tough sell for the county, which is facing a $49 million budget shortfall this year.

Kaegi was swept into office last year on a promise to transform the assessment system upheld by his predecessor, Joe Berrios, who was repeatedly accused of under-assessing high-end commercial property owners while over-assessing poorer homeowners.

As part of his campaign to overhaul the system, Kaegi is pushing for a new state law to require large property owners to report their income to the county. [Chicago Sun-Times]Alex Nitkin

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