You may have noticed an article on the NOW website, "Taxpayers pleasantly surprised by refunds".
About this time last year, Whitefish Bay residents were fainting at the new property tax assessments on their homes and businesses.
Everyone was worried that their new assessments would mean a huge property tax bill at the end of the year.
But today, more than 400 property taxpayers are rejoicing that they actually received a refund.
I'm happy to say, I was one of them. But it wasn't by luck. I successfully fought my assessment, and had the valuation of my home re-calculated and lowered 10%. The end result, was indeed, a 10% reduction in property tax.
Funny, I remember talking to the assessor in July .. I said that the market was very soft. He gave me an odd "Why do you think that?". Well, duh. Maybe it was all the "For Sale" signs around the village. July's market was red hot, in comparison to today.
Imagine if your community was doing a re-assessment this year, instead? If everyone's valuation goes up 10%, all taxes generally remain equal. BUT, and there's a huge but .. the greatest chunk of your property tax goes to the School District. Of course, the State of Wisconsin foots a chunk of the Schools' expenses.
How is that aid calculated? By property value wealth, of course. If your community has high valuations, you get lower State Aid. (For comparison's sake, the State of Wisconsin pays about 82% of the City of Milwaukee's education bill. Wisconsin pays about 19% of Whitefish Bay's.)
The end result is, as a community, you want your property valuation increases to be lower, relatively, than the rest of the state. Otherwise, your state aid goes down, and each individual home owner pays more.