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La Crosse leaders try to calm masses after outrage from property assessments



The city of La Crosse sent residents into panic mode with a letter detailing the latest 2019 property assessments.

Many homeowners were shocked to see their assessed value increase by 25-50 percent.

Those in city hall are trying to calm people as best they can and say some of the increase is simply out of their hands.

“The factors that determine whether your assessment goes up or down are largely market driven,” La Crosse city planner Jason Gilman said. “Assessors look at comparable sales data. They look at whether improvements have been made to the property.”

There might also be an explanation in the large increase many property owners are seeing.

The city hadn’t done a assessment evaluation in 10 years.

“A lot has happened in 10 years,” Gilman said. “Historically, assessors have used field data and the software wasn’t as good as it is today. We haven’t been keeping up yearly.”

Several citizens have stated the next step is likely a giant raise in property taxes.

Gilman is warning citizens not to assume that.

“There’s typically an inverse reaction with assessed value going up and the mill rate going down,” he said. “People shouldn’t assume that the current mill rate is what they should multiply with their new assessment. That’s not going to give them an accurate read.”

Gilman dismissed any notion that the city has more money to spend now.

Those who dispute their assessment are advised to call the assessor’s office or make an objection 48 hours before the first Board of Review meeting on May 20.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Rick Hamilton

    April 24, 2019 at 10:16 am


    I understand that according to the state of Wisconsin Department of Assessors that LaCrosse was at 83% assessment vs fair market values for the 2018 tax bills that we’re paying this year….. So an across-the-board increase of say 20% allowing another 3% for 2019 would have been appropriate and then everything else you said would have been accurate….. However the increases have ranged from 10% to almost double on various properties of mine and other residents….. This type of changes in assessments requires more than just a simple algorithm software program that looks at areas…… it needs individual inspections of the actual properties….. When you raise somebody’s assessment by 50% they will pick up a whole bunch more share of the property taxes next year compared to this year, and to do that without an inspection of the actual property is wrong and very insulting.

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