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Residents In Worth See Alarming Spike In Property Taxes, Some Due To Missed Exemptions

WORTH, Ill. (CBS) -- Worth, Illinois, is known as the friendly village. But many residents are complaining about a not-so-friendly jump in their property taxes. They say their bills went up -- way up.

In a town of about 10,000, word spreads quickly.

"I started asking everybody if all their property taxes went up, and so far, I've gotten all the answers as yes," said Angie Arnold.

Arnold is still not over the sticker shock of her bill that showed up a couple of days ago. She said the condo building she's lived in for about seven years was assessed $20,000 higher, bumping her bill from $486 last year to more than $1,200 this year.

"It was pretty devastating," she said.

Arnold is not alone. The mayor of Worth herself, Mary Werner, saw a 12% jump on her bill and an alarming change to her neighbor's, who's a senior citizen.

"It was $2,900 last year. This year, it went to $6,600. That was a red flag," the mayor said.

The red flag, at least on her neighbor's bill, was that all three of the exemptions she would normally get were missing. Werner wanted to know how widespread the issue was, so she took to Facebook.

"Immediately I started getting comments from multiple people: 'I did not get my senior exemption.' 'Oh my gosh, I didn't either.' 'I lost senior freeze and the exemption,'" Werner said.

So are people across Worth and the rest of Cook County missing exemptions? We took this question to the Assessor's Office, which said most exemptions did auto-renew this year. If they didn't, residents should file a certificate of error which will either give them a corrected tax bill before the due date or, if they've already paid, a refund.

As for Arnold and residents of all three condo buildings in Worth, their only recourse is filing an appeal. Otherwise, they'll have to shell up, in a time when most are still just trying to stay afloat.

"Working and keeping moving day in and day out. This property tax jump is a real shock," she said.

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