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.