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Elderly residents beg for help after property taxes skyrocket

Posted at 5:35 PM, Jul 24, 2019

Some elderly Milwaukee residents are begging the city for help after their property taxes skyrocketed due to downtown development and neighborhood sales trends.

Troy Yancey has lived in her two-story brick home on N. 2nd Street for nearly 60 years. Her property tax assessment went from $87,000 last year all the way up to $138,000 this year. When Yancey saw her latest assessment, she thought the $51,000 increase was a mistake.

"It's like your jaw drops and you can't believe it," she said.

Yancey's property assessment increased 57% in just one year. The city property assessment commissioner said Yancey's neighborhood saw an average increase of 20%.

That's much higher than her aldermanic district's annual increase of 6.9% and the city's average residential spike of 2.9%.

"It's sort of astounding that this could happen in just one year," she said. "I'm a retiree. I'm on a fixed income. I am concerned about what will happen in the future."

Yancey will end up paying about $1,200 extra in taxes this year mainly due to neighborhood sales trends and and an overall economic upswing in the Milwaukee market.

"We evidently live close enough to downtown that we're considered near downtown."

The increased property assessment is a good thing for those who want to sell their homes, but that's not Yancey's situation.

"I'm not selling it now, I'm hoping to live in this 'til I die," she said.

Yancey was one of many residents who shared their frustrations with the Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee on Tuesday.

"The taxes should be reasonable and not unconscionable," Yancey told the committee.

The common council is working to gather funds for a program that would help elderly residents pay for tax increases they can't afford.

"We're going to do what we can to implement this policy for individuals who are suffering and experiencing such an increase, a substantial increase like that, it's ridiculous," said Ald. Russell Stamper.

Yancey plans to apply for the program, but doesn't know if she'll meet all of the requirements.

"I don't think we expect our taxes to stay the same, but a reasonable amount," she said.

If you're a Milwaukee resident and want to know how much your property taxes are, click here.