Sharon Minnes to miss seniors

Marianne Gillespie
mgillespie@timestoday.com
Sharon Minnes was honored for her service as Chillicothe Township assessor for the last 20 years.

After two decades as the Chillicothe Township assessor, Sharon Minnes is ready to hang up her tape measure.

She resigned recently to allow for her deputy, Shawn Crabel, to become the assessor last week.

Since being elected in 1993 and taking office in 1994, Minnes has been in charge of making the now 4,200 parcels of property within Chillicothe Township “equitable.”

She was recruited by her mother-in-law, Virginia Minnes, who had served as assessor for eight years.

While she learned some about the assessor’s duties from her, she also received an education on the county’s computer-assisted system, which was started in 1994 and became effective in 1995.

That, she said, allowed her to start at the “ground level” with other assessors.

Her background of teaching math and science in junior highs at Mossville, Chillicothe and Germantown Hills gave her the math skills needed to do the job. She also subbed at Illinois Valley Central High School.

Dealing with numbers is a necessity as the assessor computes a value for properties.

“The assessor stands between the taxpayer and the governing bodies. They have to make things equitable for both,” Minnes said.

That can be easier said than done as residents may think their equalized assess value is too high.

“When people come in to complain, I treat them with respect,” Minnes said. “In my 20 years I’ve only had five nasty people.”

She said she listens to their concerns and questions and then attempts to explain how a value was figured.

“People want to be heard,” Minnes said.

With about 16 hours a week behind the desk at the township office and additional hours in the field, Minnes said the busiest times in the office are March through September.

“Field work is the best part of the job,” she said.

Some of the big projects she has worked on included both the new and old CEFCU buildings, the new McDonald’s, River Landing and Goose Creek Crossing complexes, Kroger’s addition and the Mediacom remodel.

In the past 10 years, Minnes said she has had more access to building plans, but even those can change.

Physically stretching the tape across a project allows her to know she has accurate figures.

The assessor’s work includes a variety of items, including processing sale sheets, answering questions from taxpayers and helping the senior citizens, just to name a few tasks.

“I don’t think anyone really has a clue what goes on in this office,” Minnes said.

She said she will most miss seeing the faces of the senior citizens.

“You feel good about being able to help people,” Minnes said.

An assessor’s job is never done, however, as they have continuing education and attempt to be consistent in all that they do within the township. Peoria County Courthouse officials, specifically the Supervisor of Assessments office, assists them as well.

While the job is a little easier now due to being able to run computerized reports, there still is work to do.

Per state statute, every four years the assessor looks at all of the properties within the township. That will happen next year, and she will be assisting Crabel in the major undertaking.

She is confident that Crabel can continue in her footsteps.

“He’s over-qualified. We’re very fortunate,” Minnes said of his education and expertise.

Minnes now plans to find some volunteer work. She quilts in her spare time and already sews some for the Methodist church’s endeavors. She may assist in the Weekend Snackpac program and wants to do some math tutoring.

“I miss the children and education,” Minnes said.

While the jobs of a teacher and an assessor may be worlds apart, Minnes said she enjoyed her time working with Chillicothe Township.

“I just really enjoyed my job,” Minnes said.