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Whitefish Bay residents concerned property value increase could raise taxes

Posted at 6:15 PM, Jul 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-19 07:34:40-04

Whitefish Bay residents are seeing property values dramatically increase and are concerned about what it means for future property taxes.

"My property value has raised $73,600 from 2018 to 2019," Michael Sander, a Whitefish Bay resident said. "It was such a sticker shock. I threw it on the counter and didn't add it all up right away."

Whitefish Bay revalued homes for the first time in five years. The Village was at risk of dropping below 90 percent of the state's fair market value.

"When a community's value reaches the 90 percent ration, which means assessments are approximately 10 percent less than market value, there's a timetable in which municipalities must comply to bring those assessments back to market value," Paul Boening, Village Manager for Whitefish Bay said.

As a whole, Whitefish Bay properties went up by 16 percent. Sander's increased by a dramatic 33 percent.

If the tax rate were to remain the same, residents like Sander will be left trying to figure out what to do.

"I'm just freaked out about, maybe my taxes will be raised," Sander said. "I think it would be about $1,800 to $2,000."

However, Boening says Whitefish Bay's tax rate, which is already the lowest of the villages in Milwaukee County, could change as a result of the property values increasing.

"I would call it sticker shock," Boening said. "Initially, a lot of homeowners, they immediately equate that to, what is it going to do to their tax bill? That's perfectly understandable because tax bills are based on assessments. However, revaluations are revenue neutral. An increase in total property value does not necessarily mean that the Village of Whitefish Bay and/or other taxing jurisdictions will collect more tax dollars. Some owner's shares will increase, some will decrease and some will stay about the same depending on how their assessment changed in relation to the average increase of 16 percent."

So homeowners will have to wait for the sticker shock to wear off so they can reevaluate in November or December when other taxing jurisdictions like the school district, the Village, Milwaukee County, MMSD and MATC finalize their budgets.

Until then, residents can schedule an appointment with a member of the assessor staff if they have any questions or would like to challenge an assessment. For more information, visit the Assessor's Office website.