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South Suburban Homeowners Have Seen Staggering Property Tax Bill Increases, Officials And Residents Want To Know Why

CHICAGO (CBS) -- It's more than just sticker shock – homeowners in the south suburbs have found whopping increases in their latest property tax bills.

As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported Thursday, south suburban homeowners and elected officials alike fear it could devastate an area that is already struggling. They are taking steps to figure out why bills in those areas continue to skyrocket – and of course, it doesn't help that homeowners are hurting right now.

"The people can't do that anymore. We can't take anymore," said Carmelina Hudson.

Hudson has owned a house in Dolton for 12 years, and she rents it out. But after getting her latest Cook County property tax bill with its massive increase, she is concerned about how she will absorb the extra $3,000 she now owes in taxes.

"We're just going to have to pass cost on to the people in the community," she said, "which, I mean, as my heart hurts for that, but like, there's nothing else we can do – because I have a family. I have three children myself."

Hudson's bill shows her property value jumped from $57,140 in 2019 to more than $105,000 this year. She is a real estate agent, and she ran the numbers and said the median sale price for most Dolton homes is only about $38,000.

"I'm concerned about the community," she said. "I mean, it's a struggling community. COVID in that area has hit super-hard. I'm just devastated for them."

"There was just some shocking discrepancies," said Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller (D-6th), whose district includes Dolton. She is one of several county commissioners and Chicago aldermen calling for a hearing to figure out why certain areas – especially the south suburbs – continue to get hit so bad.

"Why are all the taxes going up so drastically," Miller sad. "So we need to see what that looks like."

Miller said since 2000, property taxes have gone up a whopping 87 percent in her area, despite what many believe are actually declining property values.

"It's negatively impacting our district, because people are just walking away from property," she said.

And that is just those with mortgages. Renters, like those who live on Hudson's property, will also feel the hurt.

"They can't even pay their mortgages and their rent, and now they're going to be getting more hard with this tax rate," she said.

Hudson is appealing the assessment, but has last past appeals – so she is not hopeful.

Miller said despite the tax bill hikes, her district has the highest number of home tax sales in the county.

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