From the Assessor

John headshot

Township Assessors File Federal Lawsuit

Open Letter from Ela Township Assessor, John Barrington

Each year the Ela Township Assessor’s office reviews and adjusts assessments as needed to ensure all properties are uniform based on the previous 3 years of sales. This ensures that property tax bills are fair and accurately reflect the varying market changes that occur throughout Ela Township. In the past 10 years I have been with Ela Township, I have not seen every single home in every single neighborhood along with every commercial and industrial property increase or decrease by the exact same percentage. The real estate market does not work this way.

For the 2016 assessments, the Appointed Lake County Chief Assessment Officer, Martin P. Paulson, notified all of the locally Elected Township Assessors that for the first time we would be forced to take the county equalization factor even though it is incorrect for many properties. This brazen attempt to prevent Township Assessors from performing their statutory duties, then removing any neighborhood equalization and applying a blanket 5% increase for Ela, removes local control and accountability while spreading the tax burden unfairly. This also forces residents to file an unnecessary appeal when their local Assessor may have been able to resolve any inequalities. Many folks will now pay more than they should which means others will pay less than they should.

The Property Tax Code allows Assessors to equalize assessments in Non-General Assessment years by property class, neighborhood, area, etc. to adjust for the varying market changes throughout the Township to ensure fair assessments, and ultimately fair tax bills.

The reason for this turmoil provided by the Lake County Chief Assessment Officer, was to save Lake County 80 CENTS per parcel by not having to publish Assessor changes in the newspaper as required by state statute. This short sighted policy may have saved Lake County 80 cents per parcel in publication costs, but could cost more in the long run with additional BOR filings and may cost you even more on your individual tax bill.

As you may be aware, the position of Assessor is not always an easy or popular job. I have to make very hard, unpopular decisions that I know will change the tax burden for all property owners. After being elected by the residents of Ela Township, I was required to take an oath of office stating I would “faithfully discharge all the duties of the office of Assessor to the best of my ability” and I take this oath and my duty to residents seriously.

The Lake County Chief Assessment Officer is APPOINTED by the Lake County Board. Either this position should become an elected position so they work for and are accountable to the taxpayers directly, or local Assessors should be allowed to do their statutory duties locally. I encourage you to contact your County Board member along with Chairman Lawlor to express your opinion on this matter. Otherwise, they will assume that this process is safe to continue in future years. Please note: Your Rep cannot reduce your assessment or discuss your assessment in detail.

While we were not allowed to equalize the assessments neighborhood by neighborhood and apply the appropriate adjustments, we can help you to review your assessment to ensure it is fair and accurate. Instructions are on the back of this letter for filing an appeal. The deadline is September 26, 2016. Our office will review all appeals and reach out with an offer to reduce the assessment if warranted. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. I would also appreciate your feedback; Feel free to e-mail me anytime at


Martin P. Paulson                                             Aaron Lawlor
Chief County Assessment Officer                Lake County Board Chairman – District 18

Phone: 847-377-2050                                         Phone: 847-377-2300                  

Nick Sauer                                                           Craig Taylor                                                       Charles “Chuck” Bartels
Lake County Board – District 17                  Lake County Board – District 19                  Lake County Board – District 10

Phone: 224-634-6717                                         Phone: 224-805-6027                                         Phone: 847-980-4519                                               


I’m excited to offer the information on this website as a way to help educate and share information with you. It is my hope that this website, in conjunction with our Facebook and Twitter accounts, will help keep you connected to our office. I want you to know that we are here to help you and we are your local resource, right here in Lake Zurich. We will work with you to help you understand the assessment and appeal process and will assist you with exemptions.

A big goal of mine is to reach out into the community and help educate you, the taxpayer. We are offering various outreach sessions, forums, and speaking engagements through various organizations to help me reach this goal.  I’ve always felt that an educated taxpayer is extremely important as the assessment process can be quite complex.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. I would also appreciate your feedback; Feel free to e-mail me anytime at