Local Property Tax Assessment Challenges Are Way Up This Year

Lee Sensenbrenner:

Prices seemed to be falling as he was buying, he said, and he paid less for his condominium than ones that were sold a month or two earlier. He paid $259,000, including a parking stall, and his fight against City Hall is to have it assessed at $221,000 rather than $241,000, plus $18,000 for the parking stall, which is now treated as a separate property.
He said others in the building have nicer views and are higher up, but have lower assessments for the same floor space. In particular, he points to Ald. Mike Verveer’s condo two floors above him, which faces the lake instead of the courtyard, and is assessed at $231,000. Like those of all units in the building, its assessed value did not increase from 2005 to 2006.
“Obviously,” Taylor wrote in a letter submitted to the Assessor’s Office, “my second-floor unit’s value should be far less than a fourth-floor unit with a lake view.”

A close look at assessments raises many more questions. Some municipalities, such as Fitchburg reassess properties every 3 to 5 (or longer) years rather than annually as Madison does. Learn more via Access Dane (I do find it odd that some publicly financed data requires a “subscription” – we have the opportunity to pay twice).
Sensenbrenner’s article provides more grist for the consideration of a fall referendum.

One thought on “Local Property Tax Assessment Challenges Are Way Up This Year”

  1. There are some interesting things here. The familiar complaints about paying for the education of “other people’s children,” and the aside about East side schools not being competitive are important for the perceptions of the district and the potential of the referendum. However, any identification of trend needs to be balanced with the reality that 400 of the appeals are from one condominium project.
    There are some exceptions, particularly with the lakefront property, but in general it has been my experience that the assessments in Madison are a more accurate estimate of the market value than they are in many other locales. It is also relatively transparent, unlike places like Cook County IL where senior staff in the assessor’s office claims not to be able to explain how assessments are calculated and everyone agrees that it is difficult to understand.
    I really think that in general they do a good job in Madison and we should be grateful for that.

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