For the 2021 tax assessment year, the Town of Cottage Grove will undergo a full revaluation of all taxable property under Wisconsin Statutes 70.05. Due to COVID-19, the Town Board recently voted to have the assessor conduct exterior inspections only. To ensure that an accurate revaluation is performed, it will be necessary for the assessment staff to conduct an exterior review of all homes and commercial buildings within the town limits. Each assessor will carry a letter of identification from the Town Clerk, a Photo ID tag, and will be driving a red fleet vehicle clearly identified with the Associated Appraisal company logo.
Please also take notice that the Assessor has certain statutory authority to enter land as described in state law (secs. 943.13 and 943.15, Wis. Stats.). The ability to enter land is subject to several qualifications and limitations, as described within the foregoing statutes. Copies of the applicable statutes can be obtained at public depositories throughout the State of Wisconsin, and from the Wisconsin State Legislature website or a copy may be obtained from the municipal clerk upon payment of applicable copying charges.
Municipal revaluations are periodically required by the State of Wisconsin and typically take place about once every five years. The town’s assessed values have been monitored annually by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Bureau of Property Tax, and are no longer in compliance with state regulation standards.
Associated Appraisal Consultants, Inc., a private assessment firm from Appleton, WI, has been retained by the Town of Cottage Grove to complete the revaluation for 2021. The revaluation will establish new assessed values in an equitable fashion for all properties in the Town at 100% of market value.
The revaluation will not have any effect on the total dollar amount of taxes collected by the Town of Cottage Grove. However, the revaluation will re-distribute the tax burden in an equitable fashion according the current market value of each property in the Town. The revaluation will also serve to update the Town’s property records to accurately reflect current property characteristics.
When the property reviews are completed and new assessed values are determined, all property owners will receive a written notice of assessment change. You will then have an opportunity to discuss the assessed values with Associated Appraisal staff members at the Open Book session. After the Open Book session, the Board of Review will conduct hearings to evaluate evidence concerning any final challenges to the assessed values.
For revaluation questions, please call Associated Appraisal at 920-749-1995 Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
Thank you for your help in creating a successful 2021 Revaluation Program.
COMMON ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS
Some of my neighbors have told me the only reason for the reassessment is to raise taxes. Is this true?
No. a reassessment has no impact on the total amount of taxes collected. However, it may change your property’s percentage share of total taxes collected to increase, decrease or, have a minimal effect.
How does the assessor value property?
Wisconsin law requires that property assessments be based on Fair Market Value. Estimating the market value of your property is a matter of determining the price a typical buyer would pay for it in its present condition. Some factors the assessor considers are: what similar properties are selling for; what it would cost to replace your property; the rent it may earn; and any other factors that affect value. It is important to remember that the assessor does not create assessed value, but rather interprets what is happening in the market place through real estate sales.
What can I do to ensure a fair and reasonable assessed value for my property?
Even with the best of care and intentions, mistakes are possible. Inform the assessor of any problems that might affect market value. There will be an opportunity to discuss your assessment with the assessor at the Open Book. Should you feel your assessment is in error, bring to the Open Book any documentation that supports your opinion of value. Property owners will be notified if there is a change to their assessment, when the project is completed. If the discussion with the assessor does not resolve your concerns, a Board of Review will be held where you can again present sales or other market value evidence that shows the assessment to be in error.
Do all assessments change at the same rate?
No, not necessarily. There are differences between individual properties and between neighborhoods. In one area, the sales may indicate a substantial increase in value in a given year. Yet in another neighborhood for example, there may be no change in value, or even a decrease in property values. Different types of properties within the same neighborhood may also show different value changes. For example, one-story houses may be more in demand than two-story houses, or vice versa. Older homes in the same area may be rising in value more slowly than newer homes. Perhaps the older style homes that have been traditionally selling low are now selling much higher. There are numerous factors to be considered in each property, which will cause the values to differ. Some of the factors which can affect value are: location, condition, size, quality, number of baths, number of bedrooms, basement finish, garages, overall condition as well as many others.
What is the bottom line?
Assessments are required by state law and are mandatory. The real issue is whether your property is assessed at the statutory required market value. Look at your final assessment after the revaluation. If it appears to be an accurate value when compared to sales of similar property, then it probably is a fair assessment. If, in your opinion, it does not reflect the market value of your property when compared to sales of similar properties, you should talk to our assessment staff. We may be able to provide information or take further actions to resolve your concerns.
Also see the Wisconsin Dept. of Revenue Guide for Property Owners at https://www.revenue.wi.gov/DOR%20Publications/pb060.pdf.