Nos. 96-2895-C-3 96-29505-C-1
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Garman
IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
Administrative Review of Property Tax Appeal Board
Petitioner, Villa Retirement Apartments, Inc. (Villa), appeals directly to this court from the February 23, 1998, decision of the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB), pursuant to section 16-195 of the Property Tax Code (35 ILCS 200/16-195 (West 1996)). We affirm.
This appeal involves 11 parcels of real estate in the Villa Retirement Center in Fancy Creek Township that are owned or controlled by Villa, a not-for-profit corporation. According to the 1995 assessment notices, the assessed value of the parcels was $1,213,934. On November 6, 1996, notice of changes in real estate assessments for the township was published in the Williamsville Sun. The notice stated:
"The following is a list of all the real estate assessment[s] in said township for the 1996 assessment year that have been changed or re-vised by the township assessor and revised or corrected by the Supervi-sor of Assessments."
None of the 11 Villa parcels was listed in the published notice.
On January 28, 1997, PTAB issued its decision regarding Villa's appeal of the 1995 assessment, reducing the assessed valuation of the 11 parcels from $1,213,934 to $844,155.
On April 1, 1997, a "Notice of Assessment Change" for each parcel was sent to Villa by the Sangamon County Board of Review (Board). The notices informed Villa that the reason for the change was the applica-tion of the township multiplier of 1.0864. The aggregate value of the properties, according to these notices, was assessed at $1,384,761 after application of the multiplier (or $1,274,633 before application of the multiplier). On each notice, the space in which prior publication of the revised assessment would be indicated was left blank. Each notice also contained the message: "YOU MAY APPEAL THIS ASSESSMENT TO THE PROPERTY TAX APPEAL BOARD, ROOM 402 STRATTON BUILDING, WITHIN 30 DAYS OF THE DATE THIS NOTICE WAS INITIALLY MAILED."
It is undisputed that these are the only notices of assessment given to Villa for the 1996 property taxes due in 1997. The new assessed value without the equalization factor was $60,699 greater than the amount originally assessed for the prior year and $430,478 greater than the assessment after it was adjusted by the PTAB. At oral argument, counsel for PTAB pointed out that the assessed value of each parcel was 5% greater on the 1996 notices than on the 1995 notices and suggested that this consistent increase in assessed values was likely due to the application of a multiplier of 1.05 in 1995, rather than any actual increase in the underlying assessments. The record does not contain any information about 1995 multipliers.
Villa filed 11 appeals with the PTAB on April 11, 1997, claiming that the assessed values were in error. These claims were supported by an appraisal of each parcel and a copy of PTAB's January 28, 1997, decision. The Board responded to Villa's appeal by filing "Notes on Appeal" with PTAB regarding each of the properties. Each note indicated that Villa had not filed a complaint or appeared before the Board. The aggregate value of the Board's stipulated assessments was $1,274,632.
On September 10, 1997, the PTAB informed Villa by letter that it had reviewed the evidence provided and determined that reductions in the assessed valuations of the properties were warranted. PTAB suggested that the correct assessments would total $1,232,424, and informed Villa that it would issue a decision accordingly if it did not receive a reply within 15 days. PTAB's letter also stated:
"Please be advised that the assessment suggested by the Board of Review is the assessment of your property prior to the application of the township multiplier. Pursuant to the statute[,] when an appeal to the [PTAB] is filed off of a township multiplier[,] then [our] jurisdiction is limited to the increase caused by the application of that multiplier. The Board of Review's records indicate that your appeal was filed off of application of the township's multiplier. As a result[,] the [PTAB] cannot lower your assessment below the amount of the assessment before application of the multiplier. However, if you can prove with documentation that you had filed an appeal with the Board of Review[,] then the [PTAB] would have jurisdiction over the total assessment of your property."
Villa replied by letter on September 15, 1997, arguing that the proposed adjustments merely reduced the assessments to approximately the same levels as the original 1995 assessments, which had been substantially reduced by PTAB. Villa further argued that the correct assessment for 1996 would ...