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Building Tension: Supervisor of Assessments and County Assessor Not on Same Page

If you were to print out the Illinois General Assembly’s Property Tax Code which deals specifically with the Supervisor of Assessments officials and Township Assessors, you’d be looking at about 30 pages, much of it filled with legal speak that may well require the assistance of an attorney to decipher.  That makes a disagreement between a Supervisor and a Township Assessor that much more challenging to understand, and for an added degree of difficulty, throw in the fact the county has only one assessor.  But here we are.

Prior to being elected as Supervisor of Assessments in November of 2022, Gary Baxley served as an Assessor for 24 years.  Amy Edwards has served as an Assessor for the last decade plus and up until recently, the relationship between the two seemed cordial.

As arduous as understanding the work they do is and then how it fits into how property taxes are figured, the job itself isn’t an easy one admits Baxley.

The assessment work is hard to do.  It’s hard to understand.  You’re getting into trending where you have to take the old figures and bring them up to today’s prices and that’s where we’ve been lacking in the recent few years.  Old figures haven’t been brought into what it should be today.  Sales has really hurt us.  Interest rates were down and people got to paying enormous prices and I haven’t seen it slack off even though interest rates have gone up.

The housing market has been on it’s head over the last 4-6 years.  It’s caused a bad sales ratio Baxley says which in turn will cause an equalization factor above 1 to be issued.  Properties should be assessed at 1/3 or 33.33% of their fair market value.  He said in a February 27th press release issued on his site that “the 2022 season reflected an equalizer that we had to apply of 5.14% due to the poorly assessed properties that had been sold.  Unfortunately, we will be applying an equalizer as much as 10-12% this year for the same reason.”

The building tension between Edwards and Baxley boiled over in February, first when Baxley issued letters to about 15 property owners in Indian Creek Township which he calls by far the worst assessed township in the county for the second year.

It is the township job to assess property, that is said.  But it’s also my job.  I can assess property any time I need to.  I have the same authority.  It’s all covered under 2-80 of the Illinois Property Tax Code, Act 200, Chapter 35.  I have the right to assess anything I want to and all the assessments turned in by the township assessor, it’s my job as Supervisor of Assessments to make sure these are correct.

In that letter, he said their properties might need to be reassessed and indicated he intended to himself view the properties, take measurements and photos. Those letters resulted in several of those property owners attending the county board meeting and strongly voicing their opposition.  Next month at the Carmi Township meeting, a list of 11 business properties and 35 personal properties including Edwards own home were left for consideration.  This led to Edwards calling it a personal attack and saying that the former Supervisor of Assessments had put parcel reports with properties that needed attention in her “to do” file.  That comment resulted in Baxley turning to state statutes that clearly define it’s not his job to tell her what properties need consideration and that it’s in fact her job to identify, examine, and reassess properties.  Edwards also says Baxley disagrees with how she assesses property as well.

He disagrees with me a little bit on the way I assess.  We assess things a little bit differently, but I feel like I am fair.  I assess things fairly and I assess things fairly across the board.  I don’t treat one person any different than I treat somebody else.

As far as the Indian Creek properties, Edwards adds this

One of those had sold and it sold for a lot higher than what we had on the assessment.  And that’s because that home had been completely renovated and I missed that.  That’s on me, I missed that, but it happens.  When something’s out in the country, you don’t always know it’s been completely renovated.  Gary and I talked about that and I called the homeowner and told him that we were going to have to reassess that.  He was fine with that.  But we don’t reassess the same year someone buys a property.  You learn that the first day you’re in class.  Don’t chase a sale because we pay taxes a year behind so he was credited for those taxes from that previous homeowner.  So if I would’ve changed it in that same year, he would’ve been paying taxes he didn’t owe because he was given a credit.  I would think Gary would know that.  So I explain to the property owner, he says that’s fine, give me a heads up.  A few months later he calls me and says, ‘what is going on with my taxes?’  He said I thought you said you weren’t going to change these till next year and I said I don’t know.  I didn’t change it.  Gary had changed it and had raised it quite a bit.  So he went to the board of review and I assume they lowered it down somewhat, I don’t really know what they lowered it to.  The rest of those [Indian Creek] assessments that he asked me to look at, if you look at the entire county and the market right now, everything’s low.

On how they go about their jobs and Baxley not wanting to provide Edwards with a list of work that needs done, he says

That’s not my job.  We’re two different entities, it helps the tax payers.  Township does it, then I look at it.  And if it’s not figured right, I probably should be courteous enough to tell her, but it’s hard to communicate.  It’s not my job to give her work.  I never relied on the Supervisor of Assessments to give me work when I was a township assessor.  The number one job is to discover and the only way you can do that is go out and look.

Driving an entire county for one assessor is a tall task and in order to do the job to the best of her ability, Edwards says she needs access to Baxley’s tools.  Anyone can access the GIS tool.  Only Baxley has access to DevNet software.  Overlaying those two some argue would provide a roadmap to areas that need attention.  Aerials need to be updated however.  Parcel notes are also important.

The parcel notes is something else that I need access to.  Because that will say that a 30×40 building was added in whenever year.  And especially since I’ve taken over some of his townships he used to do, whenever I go around driving around like he’s told me I need to do, I could come across a building and have no idea whether it’s been added or not.  Without looking at parcel notes to see where somebody added a building.  A couple weeks ago, I did go in his office.  I had a list after driving around like I’d been asked to do.  I came in and asked if he’d look to see if those things had been added.  He was very nice to me that day.  And he did.  He looked and would tell me the ones that had been added and ones that hadn’t.  So having access to what he has in his office, is what I need to do my job.  It’s hard to do it without that.

They both seem to agree that the county needs more assessors.  Edwards says she’s certainly not doing it for the money.  Baxley agrees that it’s not a job that pays well for the amount of work involved or that needs done.  He says the townships are paying the assessor with taxpayer dollars and therefore it’s statutorily acceptable for the County to bill the townships for the work that must be done out of his office.  Baxley says he approached county board members as well as Bellwether Advisors with that request.  It’s not gone anywhere.

They refused to bring it up because there was a group in there that had them scared I think.  I didn’t get any support from the county board at all, or the states attorney.  The statute says very plainly, 9-230, if the Supervisor of Assessments determines and I did determine by parcels that was left ignored, not put on the books, if the Supervisor determines the township assessor is not doing their job adequately, then I can approach the county board and we can bill them.  It doesn’t say the county board has to vote on it.  It says if I determine and I did.  I went around that one year and probably put on nearly 8 million worth of cash value of properties that were not even on the books…that were ignored.

For their part, the county board members our reporter reached out to seem to want Edwards and Baxley to figure out a way to work together.  Cassie Pigg, chairwoman of the board says…

I can’t speak for the rest of the board, but, personally, I would like to see the supervisor of assessments and assessor work in tandem. I believe that the two offices need to work together to do what’s best for the county and its residents. I don’t want to see anyone’s taxes increase. I also do not want to increase the burden of cost on the townships. At this time, we don’t have a perfect solution, but I hope that we can all work together to do what’s in the best interest of the county as a whole.

Board member David South echoes that sentiment…

As you know the county board has very little control over elected officials. As a tax payer of this county, I would expect elected officials to work together in these difficult economic times. Some say the county is under assessed while others say property values are over inflated, which I believe is the case. The township assessor should be given access to all the information and resources that the county has available to allow her to do the job she was elected and hired to do. The county Supervisor should then take that information, apply it to the state’s statute and magically print out a tax bill that is equally fair to all taxpayers of the county and without added expenses to the townships.

Baxley says it’s not about getting along for him.  He was elected to do a job and that’s priority one.

There’s a house over here near the old cemetery in Carmi.  It had a sign out in front of it, for sale, by a local brokerage and the contact on it, Amy Edwards, she works for them.  She sells houses.  The house sold for $160,000.  We had a cash value on the house of $90,000.  How’s that get changed?  Do I change it and then I’m the bad person or does the township assessor do their job and change it? I think it’s a conflict of interest when you can’t sell something if it’s assessed correctly and the taxes are higher.  I’m willing to get along with anybody, but I’m not going to be accused.  I’ve had a character assassination here on your website where they’re accusing me of being ‘Outlaw’ and calling me everything in the world.  I don’t like that and I’m not putting up with it.”

Commenters don’t have to use their real names or email addresses when commenting on stories on our website.  When Edwards issued a press release asking county property owners to reach out to her directly if they needed to report potential changes, an individual commented asking why they should have to do Amy’s job.  Other commenters then decided the original commentor was Baxley and added other comments.  Baxley maintains the commentor was not him.  WRUL News receives IP address information (bread crumbs that lead back to the computer where the message originated) on commenters.  The station only uses that information when threats are made and immediately turn that information over to proper authorities.  After review, it does not appear the commenter was Baxley.

Edwards says if she turns in an assessment that the Supervisor takes umbrage with, she doesn’t have a problem with it.

I don’t get upset over that.  I don’t get upset if he needs to change something.  He’s the Supervisor.  I just want to be able to work together and do my job.


  1. Stumptown
    April 29, 2024 at 1:17 pm

    Please go ask the 3 living former supervisor of a**. There take Gary its my understanding he was so radical he was not even allowed in the office sure they were all democrats but so was he till he thought he couldn’t win as a dem.

  2. Stumptown
    April 29, 2024 at 1:52 pm

    Please go ask one of the three living former supervisor of a**essments there take on Gary its my understanding he was not allowed in the office because he was so radical sure they are all democrats but so was he until he thought he couldn’t win as one

  3. Demsdone
    April 29, 2024 at 4:31 pm

    This guy is all for raising our property taxes and that’s exactly what he’s trying to do. He chases sales which is very illegal and he is NOT Amy’s boss or her supervisor. He has no authority over her whatsoever. He has caused more turmoil in that office since he has been elected. For the ones who voted for him I hope you will be happy with your high property taxes because that’s exactly what is going to happen. This individual cannot be trusted .

  4. Ryan Evans
    Ryan Evans
    April 29, 2024 at 8:48 pm

    #1- If Amy Edwards is selling property in the county, she should NOT be an a**essor at all. How in the heck is that not a conflict of interest?

    #2- Gary Baxley needs to take a step back and stop acting holier than thou. Taxes are ridiculous enough in this state and he is not helping.

    Bottom line- this is what happens with elected officials, AKA, Politicians, get involved with anything. Any time they say they are doing it for the tax payers is a RED FLAG. I don’t care what they say; unless they are lowering taxes and getting the Government, be it Local, County, State or Federal, out of our lives, they are all full of crap.

    I think both Gary and Amy are full of crap and need to figure out how to get over themselves and start working for the taxpayers instead of acting like entitled Politicians.

  5. Cindy
    April 30, 2024 at 3:04 pm

    The PTAX 329 and 340 Forms are due 5/31/24, but the Supervisor’s office has been calling people the past week to bring in the forms as soon as possible. Other counties have a 6/30 deadline.


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