Claude Lois (pronounced "Loys"), administrator of the DOR's division of state and local finance, said the judge's decision came the same day the state collects its data to equalize assessments within school districts.
By law, Wisconsin applies tax rates to 100 percent of a property's assessed market value.
But because school districts often cross municipal boundaries, and property assessments often vary from municipality to municipality, the DOR
"equalizes" the assessments from municipality to municipality so school district tax rates can be applied equally to all property owners.
In this case, however, the property values were equalized without the knowledge that a portion of the town lost $27 million in property value, Lois
indicated that disconnect between equalized assessed valuation and the property tax rate approved by the school districts probably caused the radical increase in tax rates for Lyons property owners within the two Lake Geneva school districts.
In essence, said Lois
, the equalization was unequal.
said that suggestion was interesting and he
would raise that issue with the DOR
to see if it were feasible.
Although several residents said they wanted a tax credit against the unexpected bump in their tax bills, Lois
said that isn't how the state handles this kind of situation.
said the state uses a correction process called a "70.57," after the statute number that authorizes it.
Because the town within the Lake Geneva districts was valued at $27 million over its current valuation, this next year, the town's valuation will drop by $54 million, which should lower taxes due in 2014, Lois
said that state does this adjustment every year, but it's rare to have an adjustment this large.
estimated that taxes on a home with an equalized value of $300,000 will be about $5,668 this year, but drop to $4,800 in 2014, with this year's the adjustment of the town's equalized valuation.