Massac County’s Supervisor of Assessments office totes a sophisticated new graphical information system (GIS) site where citizens can compare and contrast property values and assessments.
The site offers a topographical, satellite view of the county, where each property can be selected. By selecting it, the property is outlined and pertinent information appears like the parcel number (PIN), the name of the owner, and the address of the site. In that small window, a citizen can then click “Report,” which displays as much larger window with much more detailed information.
Supervisor of Assessments Gary Hamm said Massac’s office is one of only two southern Illinois counties — the other being Williamson — where all of the information is available online between https://mas sac.il.bhamaps.com/ and http://fikeandfike.com/.
“I’m really proud of it,” Hamm said. “Even though we’re one of the smaller counties we’re at a higher level.”
The program was put in place for Massac “without an exuberant amount of money,” he added.
The aim of the new site is to make a complicated process much simpler for taxpayers, and making it as “uniform and equitable” for Massac’s denizens, Hamm said. It’s an effort to be as transparent as possible by offering the general public a tool to see for themselves how much their property values compare to others.
Now, if a property owner feels like they’re being short-changed, they can go to https://massac.il.bhamaps.com/ and see for themselves. Citizens can then show tthe numbers don’t line up, and Hamm and his office can work to fix it. Conversely, it can also show that everything is as it should be.
It’s not a perfect system, he admits, but it’s part of his goal to be as transparent as possible and help the communities in Massac County.
“We never make a process difficult,” he said.
One thing he wishes citizens understood better is that his office in no way sets the taxes. What they do, he said, is assessments, values and exemptions.
Citizens can go to the other site at http://fikeandfike.com/ for additional information by clicking property tax then public inquiry, and then select Massac for additional. Using the two sites in tandem, Hamm said, would provide all the information that would normally be available in their physical office.
To be as transparent as possible is what Hamm wants. He has worked in his position for almost nine years, with another eight years beforehand as a township assessor in another jurisdiction. He has also owned his own appraisal company since 1990.
“I don’t ever want to look at a taxpayer and say ‘ha ha, I got you!’ ” Hamm said. “I want to be fiscally responsible for the taxpayers.”