SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. (July 15, 2017) – Nearly 300 people crowded into the lower level of the Thornton Township headquarters in South Holland for the first in a series of seminars for township residents. Since 2017 is the year of the Cook County Triennial Property Tax Reassessment, Thornton Township Assessor Cassandra Holbert anticipates that residents will have questions about what the reassessment means and how they should respond. Her office has organized 12 information seminars scheduled at various times and places in 8 different villages across the township. The Lansing workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, August 22, at 6:30pm, at the Lansing Public Library.
The July 15 session had been advertised as a Property Tax Assessment Workshop, but it also included presentations on foreclosures, mortgage assistance, credit repair, and avoiding probate when transferring property after death. Lansing resident Jeri Villa attended the three-hour meeting. She wanted to make sure she could continue to apply for an exemption on her property assessment, and she came away with more information than she was expecting. “Wow…I never knew some very important, but simple, facts about applying for an exemption for a senior!” she said after the seminar. “Nobody ever made that clear before.” As Thornton Township Supervisor Frank Zuccarelli explained between sessions on Saturday, Cassandra Holbert is a real asset to the township. She retired from serving as a Cook County Assessor in Joseph Berrios’s office, and she brings all that knowledge to her role as Thornton Township Assessor. She considers herself an advocate for taxpayers, and her office is available to “help our residents understand their property taxes,” she says.
Villa, like other attenders, was originally interested in only the property assessment portion of the seminar, but she found herself captivated by Mario Reed’s presentation about “property after death.” Along with Karen Yarbrough, Cook County Recorder of Deeds, Mr. Reed explained that wills and trusts might not protect a person’s heirs from having to go through probate in order to take ownership of assets. Following his presentation, he spent nearly an hour answering questions from attenders. The high level of interest prompted Recorder Yarbrough to schedule another session for Saturday, July 22, at 10:00am. That meeting will be held at Victory Apostolic Church in Matteson, Illinois, and will focus only on Property After Death. Attorneys will also be available at that session to give advice about specific situations. “I’m planning to attend that presentation,” says Jeri Villa. “It was more relevant to me than I realized it would be.”
More than two-thirds of Lansing is in Thornton Township (the rest is in Bloom Township), and Thornton Township is the largest township in Illinois. That gives Lansing residents access to a broad network of people, information, and other resources.
Ernst Lamothe, Director of Communications for Thornton Township, explained that practical seminars like these are one of the reasons Thornton Township was awarded 2016 Township of the Year.
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