Meet Your Township Assessor
Joe Oldani, C.I.A.O. - I (Certified Illinois Assessing Official)
Phone: (815) 478-5154
FAX: (815) 680-5595
I have lived in Manhattan Township since 1978; we were formerly from Joliet. My wife's name is Margo and we raised three children here in Manhattan. We are members of St. Joseph's Parish in Manhattan. When my children were in grade school I taught fourth grade CCD classes at St. Joseph for eight years. I retired in 1999 from ComEd after a thirty-four year career.
Besides being a part-time assessor I do freelance database design and consulting work specializing in Microsoft Access. The database you are using right now is an example of this product. My interest in property taxation started in the early 1980's during that time when property values were raising very rapidly. At that time I spearheaded petitions drives to promote shifting away from property taxes as a funding source in favor of a local income tax or additional state income taxes. At that time there was a lot of interest in shifting some of the school funding to the state income tax. Since school funding represent approximately two-thirds of a property tax bill it would be a good place to start. This change in funding source can only take place if the laws are introduced and passed in the state legislature. It must be done at the state level. Over the years there has been various bills written but none them ever made out of committee to be voted on. In my opinion the income tax is a much fairer funding source compared to property tax. There are two main reasons, first the property tax is not based on your ability to pay and second it forces people to pay varying percents of there income for the same basic service. Contrast this to the state's flat rate income tax it is according to your ability to pay and everyone pays the same percent for the same basic services.
In fact in the Manhattan Library there is a text book published by Sangamon University located in Springfield IL. The titled is "Understanding the Illinois Constitution". At the back of this text book there is an article titled the "Tax Debate" written by Lawrence Wiers. This articles captures most of the arguments in favor of an income tax versus property tax as a funding source. In addition to this I have placed the testimony I gave to the Illinois Senate Revenue Committee in the 1980s with the two studies and other supporting documentation on this web. It is under the additional information link on the home page.
I have been the assessor since 1993. Since the 1997 election, to run for assessor you must have completed certain educational requirements certified by the Illinois Department of Revenue. You also must take on going assessment education classes each year to stay qualified.
I have ran for this office as an independent candidate for all four terms and was elected. An independent candidate must use the petition process to have their name placed on the election ballot. I like this method because it allows me to take my candidacy directly to the people. Sometimes the people have questions or concerns so I get a lot of feedback. The people who sign the petition are not committed to vote for the independent candidate. It only allows their name to be placed on the ballot. The signature requirement isn't too high and it gives you chance to tell people who you are and why you want to be elected for a particular office.
I thank the voters for this opportunity and I try to be as fair as possible while executing the duties of this office. My goal in running for this office was to see if anything from within the present system could be done to make it better. The best thing any assessor can do is assess property as close to 33 1/3% of Market Value as mandated by state law, constantly work on uniformity of assessments, and always give people an answer to their question. The first two items will keep the tentative multiplier from the States Sales Ratio Study as small as possible and it helps keep the tax rate as small as possible. The assessor can only impact this part of the tax rate calculation. The spending side or the levy is impacted by the elected members of the various taxing bodies. To understand this concept in more detail read the topics "Why Property is Reassessed Each Year" and the "Relationship of Tax Rate, Tax Levy, and Assessments".
As the internet technology evolved in the late 1990s I decided this was a great opportunity to make the public assessment records more readily available. I felt as a taxpayer myself I would like the ability to look anonymously at these records. So this site was designed to be very functional with less emphasis on style. I was the first assessor in Will County to make assessment records available on the Web. I was able to do this because of computer skills I learned in my previous career. I have developed a database program designed for real property assessment work. It is continually modified as new assessment techniques are learned. This kind of program is absolutely essential to working on uniformity each year. Uniformity simply put means if you have a $200,000 Market Value house in each section of the township, then in every section those houses should have nearly the same assessed value state law does allow for some variation. Initially it took two year to enter all the pertinent data for existing properties. Now it is just part of a on going process to enter new data to keep up with all new construction, new improvements to existing property, new sale data, new owners, new permit data, etc.
I hope you find the public information on this web helpful and it is just another way to use technology to be of greater service. Once again thank you for your interest and support over the years.