Suburban homeowner's property tax bill skyrockets from $1,800 to over $30K

A homeowner in unincorporated Chicago Heights is reeling after receiving a property tax bill that assessed his modest 1950s home at over $1 million.

Darryl Lloyd, who purchased the three-bedroom, one-bathroom house in 2006 for $115,000, maintains its current market value is just over $180,000.

"I was literally devastated when I saw that increase," Lloyd said. "I see 960 square feet. I don't have a second floor. I don't have a basement."

The shock came just days ago when Lloyd's "home sweet home" on Gardner Avenue felt more like a nightmare. The previous year, his tax bill was a little over $1,800, but this year it skyrocketed to over $30,000—a property tax hike of over 3,811 percent, based on an erroneous valuation of more than $1 million.

"Nothing over here is worth … $1 million," Lloyd lamented.

Currently, receiving disability after an injury, the diesel mechanic and safety inspector is at a loss.

"I will have to move in with a relative or something. You know, I can't afford it," he said.

The Cook County Treasurer's Office has acknowledged the issue, stating that Lloyd is not alone. An analysis revealed that the Assessor’s Office miscalculated land values for more than 4,400 homes in the south and southwest suburbs, leading to severe overassessments for homes on larger plots of land. These errors were discovered too late to correct before tax bills were printed and mailed.

Lloyd's attempts to resolve the issue with the Cook County Tax Assessor's Office were met with frustration and runarounds.

"I said, let me go downtown city Hall, to the assessor's office. And, at that point, I showed them my taxes, and I told them that I had a substantial increase, and they were like, everybody's taxes increase," he recalled.

After getting nowhere, Lloyd contacted FOX 32, who managed to reach the Assessor's Office. The office confirmed that Lloyd's astronomical tax increase was indeed a mistake.

"This property was given an incorrect assessment due to a permit that was unintentionally applied to the property. We will process a corrected tax bill for this property in the coming weeks, ensuring that the homeowner will ultimately pay the right amount in property taxes," a representative from the office stated.

"If it happened to me, it probably happened to other people. I'd like to see immediate action," Lloyd said.

Lloyd now waits for the certificate of error that the Assessor's Office is mailing out, though no exact timeline was given.

If you feel your property taxes are incorrect, you can appeal by visiting the Cook County Assessor's Office's online appeals page.