As we wrote last week, Winnebago County’s property taxes are among the highest in the nation. Property taxes start with each Township Assessor’s office. This year, Rockford Township has a choice for Assessor between three-term incumbent Ken Crowley and political newcomer Jessica Horstman.
Horstman isn’t the average newcomer. She has over 10 years of experience working in the Rockford Township Assessor’s office. She is a licensed mortgage broker and a certified property assessor.
She is also no stranger to politics. Horstman’s mother, Jean Crosby, was recently elected to the Winnebago County Board, unseating incumbent John Sweeney in the process. Her husband, Kevin, served one term on the County Board.
Horstman’s website, jh4rockford.com, reads more like a legal brief than an online campaign promotion. She not only makes the case to vote for her based on her experience; she outlines the ongoing problems with Crowley’s administration.
She charges that Crowley utilizes “cowboy assessing” instead of a standardardized formula based on the Illinois Property Tax Code. The result has been a significant number of property assessment challenges. These challenges not only adjust the “cowboy assessment,” they also cost taxpayers time and money. The reasons for Crowley’s “cowboy assessing” are outlined in a 19 page summary of what she calls “collusion” to manipulate assessed value to increase tax revenues.
Horstman commits to openness, and transparency, as well as best practices to yield more accurate assessments unsullied by politics. Her website includes information to help taxpayers discover if they qualify for tax exemptions, and also includes a calendar of important tax dates.
On the other hand, Crowley is a three term incumbent with a laundry list of endorsements. His website is like a typical politician’s, long on cheerleading and promises while short on the details. It offers no clarification on the detailed charges leveled against his almost dozen years in office.
We say three terms is long enough. Horstman is endorsed.