Complaint process for assessments can be daunting

Property taxes are based on a property's assessed value, calculated each year. And while homeowners cannot challenge their tax bill, they can challenge their assessment.

A formal complaint of a property assessment value might be intimidating and confusing to those who are not familiar with the assessment process or complaint procedure. Appeals are filed with the Champaign County Board of Review. Steve Bantz, one of three board members, said the best bet is to come in and talk to one of the board members.

Accurate property assessments require multiple techniques

CHAMPAIGN – Accurately reassessing a mature neighborhood, such as the one near the Champaign Country Club, presented a number of challenges, according to City of Champaign Township Assessor Brian Christie.

Christie reassessed the country club neighborhood last year, increasing assessments by an average of 13.7 percent. That includes the 2.9 percent township multiplier that nearly all property owners in Champaign will see this year.

Country club neighbors see hike in assessments, taxes

CHAMPAIGN – Jimmy John Liautaud owns one of the largest and most glamorous homes in the neighborhood surrounding the Champaign Country Club.

Liautaud is chief executive officer of the Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwich chain, with 855 shops nationwide. His huge, three-story house at 1002 W. Armory St. is an obvious reflection of his business success.

In most cases, that success would be viewed as a good thing. But when City of Champaign Township Assessor Brian Christie reassessed the country club neighborhood last spring, the assessed valuation on Liautaud's home was increased by 23 percent.

Panel discussion offers tips for job-seekers

CHAMPAIGN – The worst job interview Laural Mitchem remembers is the applicant who couldn't stop talking.

I asked him one question, and he talked for 45 minutes. He didn't get the job," said Mitchem, human resource manager for Volition Inc., a video game developer in Champaign.

What's worse, the applicant used his middle finger a lot to make points, she said, demonstrating by jabbing at the table in front of her. She said she found that habit "somewhat offensive." On another occasion, Mitchem was taken aback when someone showed up for an interview with no shoes or socks on.

"I was hoping he would be a little more professional or formal," she said.

Mitchem and representatives of other organizations spoke to prospective job-seekers last week at a panel discussion at Parkland College sponsored by the Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Rehabilitation Services.

How-to presentations, performances on tap at farmers market

DANVILLE – Look for some changes at this year's Downtown Danville Farmers' Market.

After several years of selling her locally famous cookies to benefit the Fischer Theater restoration project, Jean Beck has taken on the volunteer position of coordinator for the market. Beck comes with some changes in philosophy.

Abbott Labs leasing space in UI research park

CHAMPAIGN – Pharmaceutical and nutritional products company Abbott Laboratories is expected to move into the University of Illinois Research Park this July.

Local Chrysler dealer says 'it's business as usual'

CHAMPAIGN – Two area auto dealers with ties to Chrysler say they're optimistic about the company's future now that it's reorganizing under bankruptcy protection.

Duo takes reins of radio station 107.9 JAMZ

CHAMPAIGN – As a child, Dwayne Hubbard said that when he grew up he wanted to be his own boss.

He set a goal: own a business by the time he was 36 years old.

Last December, he turned 36, and this month he becomes closer to fulfilling his dream.

Schultz Nursery goes even greener


TILTON – Chances are that if you take a drive east on 14th Street in Tilton, you might be seeing green.

Todd Schultz follows his grandfather, Sully, and father, Larry, at the helm of Schultz Nursery, a landscaping, design, greenhouse and nursery business that opened in 1950. The lime-green shirts are a clue to the direction this third-generation owner is taking the business.

Ordinance OK'd to impose 1 percent sales tax increase in Villa Grove

VILLA GROVE – The Villa Grove City Council this week unanimously approved an ordinance imposing a 1 percent municipal sales tax increase.

The proposed tax increase was overwhelmingly approved by voters in the April election.