Evanston Township Assessor Bonnie Wilson will not be seeking re-election once her term ends in January 2014, she announced in a statement this weekend.
Wilson said she looked forward to “spending more time with my children and grandchildren” and continuing her career as a realtor with Koenig & Strey.
Former assessor Sharon Eckersall, who preceded Wilson in office for three terms, is running unopposed for the term beginning in 2014. Eckersall also works in real estate, as a broker with Coldwell Banker, and ran a failed bid for election as Cook County Assessor in 2009.
Wilson cited several accomplishments during her term in office, including the discovery in 2010 that hundreds of building permits had not been passed on to the Cook County Assessor Permit Department in previous years. Because the Cook County Assessor’s Office does not assess a property’s value without receiving a building permit, the error meant that hundreds of properties had not been properly assessed.
“This caused an unfair burden on taxpayers who were paying more than they should because of the under valuation of hundreds of properties,” Wilson said. “I corrected those mistakes of the past and put procedures in place to ensure timely reporting of permit activity.”
Among her accomplishments, Wilson also cited the hiring of a deputy assessor with 13 years of experience who is familiar with the Cook County Assessor’s database, as well as the hiring of a deputy assistant who created a database of taxpayer’s records including exemptions and assessments.
Wilson noted that she and her deputy assessor discovered a Cook County Assessor computer error in 2010 that was causing homeowners who built additions to be taxed double what they should be. And from the perspective of tax savings, the Evanston Township Assessor’s Office has also helped taxpayers recover nearly $1 million in missed property tax exemptions since Wilson took office, she said. Between April 1 and Nov. 30 of this year alone, the assessor’s office has helped taxpayers recover more than $338,000 in missed property tax exemptions, according to Wilson.
Wilson said she had also helped taxpayers save money by agreeing to move the township assessor’s office back to the Civic Center after its lease is up at Dodge and Main in September 2013.
“This cooperative effort between the city and my office will save the Township Assessor’s office from spending money on rent, phone, utilities and computer technical support,” she said in the release.
During her term, Wilson said she had reached out to the community by attending ward meetings, senior meetings and city council meetings, by connecting with local real estate offices and sending out a pamphlet explaining exemptions to taxpayers. She thanked her supporters and said she considered it an honor to serve the community.
“I look forward to serving as Evanston Township Assessor for another year and continue to be an advocate for all of Evanston taxpayers,” she said.