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La Crosse Mayor Reynolds discusses how citywide tax revaluation is different than 2019 assessments that saw huge jumps in property values

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La Crosse residents may have their hearts skip a beat when hearing the news city wants to reassess property taxes.

La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds sent out a release Monday in regards to a tax assessment in the city but it’s different from what happened about three years ago. That revaluation — which was the first in a decade — saw residential property values jump by 25-50% in places. Last year, the city reassessed multi-unit homes/apartment buildings.

His statement says there will be a citywide revaluation, where a team will estimate market value of all assessable property in the city. Those new values will be used to calculate property tax statements that will come in December.

Reynolds explained Monday on La Crosse Talk PM what the city is doing. 

State statutes requires cities be assessed within 10% of market value once every five years. 

“We’ve been out of compliance for awhile here and we are required to get into compliance in 2022,” Reynolds said, “or the state’s going to take over, and simply revalue the city on its own, which is not only incredibly costly and could cost taxpayers well over $1 million in La Crosse, but is incredibly invasive, as well.”

During the show — which also tackled topics on childcare, available housing, homelessness and new development projects — Reynolds explained using a general example of the city’s overall value, how it could increase, but taxes can only be affected up to a certain levy that’s set by the city council.

“When the entire city is revalued, that’s a much different story,” Reynolds said, comparing what is about to happen to what was done with individual properties in 2019. “Because, remember, we’re on their levy limits here in the city of La Crosse. So we can only increase our levy by so much. 

“Other than for new construction, we can only raise our levy so much, and that’s dictated by state law. So entire city revaluation, does that mean that your taxes will go up, And may, in fact, mean that your taxes go down.”

Reynolds noted that the rising values in the real estate market will be a big factor in the assessment but, even if the citywide revaluation skyrockets, that might actually be better news for homeowners.

“You know, our valuation right now is more like 16% from market value,” Reynolds said, “and that’s largely because of the price increases that we’ve seen in real estate over the last several years — many years and much more dramatically recently — have meant that our assessments have not kept up with market value.”

In the release, Reynolds said property owners can assist in the reassessment by allowing interior home inspections and responding to information requests. They can also dispute any reassessments once they’re complete with an assessor. 

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Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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