MOLINE — The Rock Island County Board of Review on Wednesday will hear SouthPark Mall appeal its property assessment, which could lower the mall's property tax bill by as much as $516,215.
According toRock Island County Supervisor of Assessments Larry Wilson, the Moline mall's current owner, Macerich Co., is appealing the 2012 assessment and asking it be reduced from $15.5 million to $9.9 million.
In Illinois, property taxes are paid on the assessed value of the land and/or buildings, which is one-third of fair market value.
That means the fair market value of SouthPark now is $46.5 million. Macerich provided the board of review with a property appraisal stating a fair market value of $30 million.
Mr. Wilson said he has consulted an appraiser and will make a recommendation to the board. The board will not rule on the appeal the day of the hearing, he said.
A $5.6 million drop in assessed value would decrease Macerich's property taxes from $1.4 million to approximately $900,000. However, a majority of the property taxes Macerich would not pay would have to be collected from the rest of the taxpayers in Moline, Mr. Wilson said.
The Moline city council recently set a $14.6 million tax levy. The levy will not be reduced if SouthPark wins the appeal. It could impact the tax rate, but how much hasn't been computed.
"There are so many appeals going on right now," said Moline's finance director Kathy Carr.
Moline School District CFO Dave McDermott said the district would lose roughly $100,000 in tax revenue if the appeal is fully granted. He said 87 cents of every dollar the district spends is on staffing.
Because its tax rate that pays for teachers is already at its statutory maximum, the district could not charge residents more to make up for a loss in property taxes, Mr. McDermott said.
"If our revenue was to drop, we would have to adjust something," he said. "That will lead to less opportunities for Moline School District students."
It is not unusual for SouthPark Mall owners to fight assessments. According to previous interviews with township and county officials, former mall owner Simon Development Group fought the property assessment virtually every year from 1997 to 2011.
Simon and Macerich were co-owners of the mall before Macerich took full ownership in January. At that time, a 2009 assessment appeal was pending before the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board.The appeal was dropped when Macerich became full owner of the property, Mr. Wilson said.
In 2007, the South Moline Township Assessor assessed the mall at $21.4 million. Upon appeal, it was dropped to $20.8 million.
Ms. Carr and Mr. Wilson said it is not unusual for commercial or residential property owners to appeal assessment.
"Some appeals are legitimate," Ms. Carr said. She offered no judgment on the SouthPark appeal, stating she is not a real estate appraiser.
Mr. McDermott said property owners have a right to be properly assessed, "and we support that and the outcome of the appeal process.
"However, if assessments are lowered, there are ramifications on the district," he said.
The hearing on the SouthPark Mall appeal is at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday on the second floor of the Rock Island County building, 1504 3rd Ave., Rock Island.