Guest Post: Are “Special Assessments” Coming Your Way?

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“… they decided to send out emergency “Special Assessments” to each of the 31 property owners. These surprise bills range from $7000 to $26,000 added to one’s property taxes. No citizen input. No discussion.”

 

The following guest post is by Jester Peggy.

One of those little known items added to Scott Walker’s Act 10 budget was to freeze city property taxes. A city no longer has local control to increase taxes except 2% of a city’s growth. My city, like many in the state, did not grow at all, but has gotten smaller.

I live in Tomahawk, a rural northern town with a population of around 3500 people. It is an old town, built up at the time of a booming logging industry in 1886. This past summer, the city re-paved 4 blocks of 4th Street, a main thoroughfare connecting the downtown to the northern businesses and replaced a deteriorating sewer and water system below it. No one argued that it did not need to be done. In fact, after the winter of 2012, it was so full of pot holes, the city put up signs that said “Travel at Your Own Risk.” The problem is they had no money to pay for it.

So they decided to send out emergency “Special Assessments” to each of the 31 property owners. These surprise bills range from $7000 to $26,000 added to one’s property taxes. No citizen input. No discussion. The citizens affected are moderate income, many retired, living in the oldest part of town with some of the least valuable properties. This is an area where no one’s property is going to be increasing by that value anytime soon.

We have asked for a meeting with the city and consulted a lawyer. We have a good case proving that these individual assessments are illegal because the improvements are more for the public good than an individual’s good. We are asking for the city to come up with something that is fair to all. We understand that with this freeze in place, we have to get creative.

I am writing this because you need to know… THIS COULD BE YOU!

Now, Scott Walker wants to reduce property taxes and give everyone 13 bucks. Wow! That is really going to off-set the mess he has made with the 2011 Tax Freeze and my $8000 assessment, and the assessments that are lurking in your future.

How will your city pay for needed maintenance? How will you?

P.S. Meeting with the City of Tomahawk and Concerned Public
Thursday, November 7, 6PM
Sara Park
900 W. Somo Ave.
Tomahawk, Wisconsin

Image credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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