Local News

Lyons Township assessor retires after three decades of service

Even when people walked into her office upset, Barbara Weyrick made it a point to greet them with a smile and kindness and was ready to answer their property tax questions.

“It’s better to have a smile on your face than a frown,” Weyrick said.

Now, after 31 years, Weyrick is ready to bid farewell to her role as Lyons Township tax assessor. She specifically chose to run for the elected position and said, “Everything is open to the public. I wanted to serve the people, and I like the idea of being a public record facility.”

The township tax assessor works on behalf of the county assessor, maintaining records, answering questions and assisting the public, whether that involves seeking a lower assessment, filing for a senior freeze on property taxes or seeking notary services for tax-related documents. Lyons Township includes 17 villages within Cook County and encompasses about 36 square miles.

“We’re here to help the homeowners,” Weyrick said. “We handle each resident differently, each circumstance differently.”

Weyrick first ran for tax assessor in 1985 and lost. She said she learned from her defeat, worked harder, and in 1989 won her seat and became the township’s first female tax assessor. In the early years, she was a Republican, but later she decided to become a Democrat, though she said the position isn’t so much about political parties as it is about doing the work and serving the residents.

“I’m a public servant. I never let my title go to my head,” Weyrick said. “Yes, I’m a politician, but I’m a servant first.”

She is a certified Illinois assessor through the Department of Revenue, and through the years she’s become a resource for her fellow township assessors. They selected her to serve as president of the Townships for Illinois, another first time a woman was named to the position. With a small laugh, she said she likes to break barriers.

Through the years she has helped with special projects including a veterans’ memorial, and she initiated the program Seniors without Partners, encouraging single seniors to social events to promote friendships and deter the loneliness of losing a spouse.

When she started as tax assessor, the township office was at 53 S. La Grange Road in downtown La Grange. Through her 31 years at the helm, she has witnessed the office transition from paper to electronic filings. She crafted email newsletters to keep people informed.

She maintains the true heart of the work is a great office staff and treating everyone fairly and with a smile.

“Every day I come in, I know we’re going to help someone, and I treat them with kindness,” Weyrick said.

Weyrick has lived in the township all her life, from her childhood when there were still large acres of open land to raising her family. As she embarks on retirement – she is quick to point out she plans to stay busy – enjoying her family and making more time for her volunteer work with St. Cletus Parish where she serves as an usher and is a member of the Ladies Mission are among the priorities.

Weyrick’s last day of work was Oct. 29.

“This has been fun, but the time has come to move on,” she said.