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Taxpayers receive new assessments



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July 28, 2010 | 08:45 AM
Walworth — Most assessments in the village recently went up, but that doesn't necessarily mean property owners will pay more in taxes.

That will depend on other variables including what tax levies are adopted by the schools, county, village, Gateway Technical College and the state. It also depends on whether an individual property owner's assessment increased by more than the community average.

The village's assessor, Accurate Appraisal, LLC, recently sent a letter with new assessed values for homes in Walworth.

Property owners who want to dispute the new assessment can attend an open book Wednesday, Aug. 4, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursday, Aug. 5, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

How does it affect taxes

Village Clerk/Treasurer Donna Schut has been answering a lot of questions from residents about the impact of the new assessments.

It turns out there isn't a simple answer.

"If the average increase in assessments is 30 percent and your assessment went up 20 percent your taxes may go down," Schut said. "If your assessment increases more than the average and the levy goes up, you will probably have a tax increase."

Schut said property taxes are determined by the tax levy, not assessed value.

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"Taxes go up because the levy goes up," she said.

Why have new assessments?

State law requires the village to have all its properties assessed this year.

When a community's assessment ratio — a state determined ratio of assessed value and fair market value — falls under 90 percent for four years, a municipality is required to complete a reassessment.

Prior to the reassessment, the state sent the village a letter that it's a assessment ratio was 80.13 percent. However, two years ago, the assessment ratio was 73.8 percent.

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"If the village doesn't do the reassessment, the state does," Schut said.

Although the assessment ratio increased, it didn't rise enough to ward off the state requirement.

With property values falling, Trustee David Rasmussen is concerned village properties may become overvalued.

"I am concerned that the village may be overvalued," Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen said if the village could hold off longer, it may return to compliance with the state required assessment without going through this process.

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"If we sit around long enough we can be at 100 percent again," he said.

Often, municipalities will attempt to assess properties greater than the state requirement, which may allow them to go longer without having a reassessment.

With the current housing market, Rasmussen suggested that the opposite strategy should be used.

"When values are going up you try to go above 100 percent," he said. "Now, you want to shoot for below 100 percent."

What if next year the assessment ratio is above 100 percent?

Rasmussen said if the assessment ratio is 105 percent or greater he will make a motion to reduce property assessments in the village.

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