Coles County homeowners stand up to questionable assessments
Some Coles County residents are demanding to have their property assessments invalidated after learning that the appraiser was allegedly illegally hired, a government oversight group reported recently.
Others complained at the Coles County Board meeting on May 9 of violations of possible civil rights as a result of inequitable taxation, improper publishing of tax notices and several other issues.
According to the Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW), the meeting included many more people than usual, necessitating its relocation to a larger room in which those in attendance aired their grievances on the assessments during a public comment period.
The ECW has previously reported on the use of what appears to be an illegally hired assessor. According to the group, Mattoon Township has the statutory authority to hire an assessor as a contractor, but the county does not, which is what happened.
Robert Becker performed the assessments after being hired without a bid because the county had argued he was an employee, the ECW said. Yet what followed made little sense, the group said.
"Since when does an employee submit invoices for payment that includes “Thanks for your business”?" the ECW posted on its Illinois Leaks website. "It’s clear, Mr. Becker is a contracted vendor for the county and not an employee as he is being paid based off of submitted invoices and there are no taxes being withheld as required by law for employees."