CHICAGO (CBS) – Property taxes have been going up across the Chicago area. CBS 2’s Mike Parker talked to one condo owner whose tax bill nearly doubled.

Eric Roberts described what he thought when he opened up the tax notice and saw the numbers.

“Yeah, Merry Christmas,” he said. “For us, it was sticker shock, in the sense that we really weren’t expecting such a significant increase.”

Roberts and his wife have been renting out their condo in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood to three bachelor roommates.

With income from the rent, they’ve been breaking even.

Now because the County has suddenly determined that the condo’s market value is no longer $320,000, but $541,000, their property taxes have headed skyward.

Last year’s taxes were $4,454. This year: $8,117; an 82 percent increase.

“I call this absurd,” Roberts said. “To pay essentially double what we’ve been used to paying for the last six years is, in my mind, unacceptable in this market.”

The County Assessor’s office told CBS 2 the bill is “just, fair and equitable.”

Tax attorney George Reveliotis disagrees. After seeing Robert’s documents, “and after considering some sales in the neighborhood of similarly classified properties, I believe it is not being fairly assessed and therefore it is not equitable,” he said.

Tax consultant Vanessa LaMarca says Roberts is not alone, that she’s been inundated with similar complaints.

“Just a huge increase,” she said. “People can’t afford to pay, they weren’t budgeting for it.”

“Fundamentally it doesn’t seem right,” said Eric Roberts. “It seems like it’s almost robbery.”

The condo owner has already appealed to the Board of Review and lost. His next step, he promises, will be a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court.

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