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More than 100 Milwaukee residents qualify for property tax relief

Posted at 10:05 PM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 17:03:33-05

MILWAUKEE — Relief is on the way for more than a hundred Milwaukee homeowners who saw their property taxes skyrocket due to downtown development.

An anti-displacement fund will help Milwaukee homeowners who saw large increases in their property taxes due to their proximity to downtown. Some will save as little at $15, others as much as $1,800 each year for the next five years.

A couple dozen Milwaukee residents who are desperate for property tax relief attended a meeting Thursday night to learn more about the city's newly established anti-displacement fund.

"I've lived in my house since 1979 and I'm not interested in moving," said Freida Webb.

Webb already qualified for the program. It will save her about $300 in a property tax increase she can't afford on a fixed income.

"I'm going to be able to retain my property, " she said.

Kathryn Dunn with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation said several business leaders and philanthropic organizations donated more than $400,000. The money will help qualifying homeowners in the Harambee and Walker's Point neighborhoods.

"The majority of the applicants for the anti-displacement fund were over 60 years old, so these are people who are staying put," said Dunn. "We want to help them stay put."

Darryl Johnson with the Riverworks Development Corporation helped homeowners with the application process. He said strict requirements meant dozens didn't qualify.

"46 of them were denied and they were denied for a number of reasons. Over income, the other issue was title issues," Johnson said.

Dorothy Greer's property assessment skyrocketed $80,000 last year, but she doesn't qualify for relief on an additional $2,300 in property taxes this year due to her income.

"I'm a widow and I'm retired on a fixed income," she said. "That's a big hit to my mortgage."

The maximum income limit to qualify:
- $36,575 for 1 person
- $41,180 for 2 people
- $47,025 for family of 3
- $52,250 for family of 4
- $56,430 for family of 5
- $60,610 for family of 6

The Riverworks Development Corporation says those who didn't qualify for this fund will receive assistance from other resources to help them stay in their homes.

Contributors to the anti-displacement fund:
- Greater Milwaukee Foundation
- Bader Philanthropies
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Medical College of Wisconsin
- Zilber Family Foundation
- Herb Kohl Philanthropies
- WestCare
- Southside Organizing Center
- Milwaukee Urban League
- Mitchell Street BID
- Arts @ Large
- The Retreat
- United Community Center
- Greater Milwaukee Committee
- Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) Milwaukee
- MKE United

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