equalized values drop
By Kathleen McGwin
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) recently released its Equalized Values Report that shows total statewide equalized property value down 1.8% from the prior year. The report says that this mirrors the national average decline in property values. Equalized values are calculated annually by the DOR to “ensure statewide fairness and equity in property tax distribution,” the report says.
A decline in property values means that to collect the same amount of money, the tax rate must go up. A rise in valuation would mean a decrease in the tax rate to collect the same amount of revenue as the previous year. This all depends on various factors and does not necessarily mean a change in the amount of taxes that an individual owner pays. If a decrease in valuation, for instance, means your tax rate goes from $40 per $1,000 to $50 per $1,000, unless the levy increases, you may still pay the same because the value of your property decreased, leaving you with fewer $1,000s to pay on. The same may be true for an increase in valuation, as long as the levy stays the same and depending on how much your valuation increased compared to other properties, and what caused the increased or decreased valuation.
The total change in Marquette County for residential land and improvements was a decrease of $23,701,500 from January of 2010 to January of 2011. Commercial land and improvements rose by $1,617,900. Manufacturing land and improvements real estate decreased by $205,000. Agricultural land valuation decreased $168,200 and undeveloped land decreased by $2,305,400. Agriculture forest land valuation decreased by $3,187,900 and forest land decreased by $2,545,500. The total decrease for Marquette County equalized value is $29,310,100.
The towns/villages and city of Marquette County changed as follows:
Town/Village Equalized Value
/City January, 2011
Crystal Lake -587,500
Endeavor Village -577,900
Montello City -3,848,300
Montello Town -7,681,000
Neshkoro Town -3,474,100
Neshkoro Village -597,400
Oxford Town -2,300,900
Westfield Town +3,514,900
Westfield Village -1,639,300
The majority of the increase in valuation in the towns of Springfield, Westfield, and Harris and the village of Oxford came from residential improvements according to the report.
A guide for property owners which can be accessed at www.revenue.wi.gov/pubs/slf/pb060.pdf says, “Each municipality must raise the funds needed to operate its own functions in addition to its share of the funds needed for the county and school district operations along with the state forestation tax. The total amount of the levy must be divided by the total assessed value of the municipality to establish the tax rate.” It gives the following example.
EXAMPLE of imaginary city of Badgerville
City of Badgerville $ 200,000 (or in real life would be the municipality you live in)
County Levy $ 230,000 (in real life Marquette County levy)
School District(s) $ 560,000 (in real life the school district you live in)
State (forestation) $ 10,000
TOTAL LEVY $1,000,000
Badgerville’s Assessed Value for the sake of this example is $25,000,000
Tax Rate =Levy ÷ Assessed Value
which for Badgerville is: $1,000,000 ÷ $25,000,000 =.04
As you can see from the previous example, the City of Badgerville must raise a total levy of $1,000,000. The total assessed value of the City of Badgerville is $25,000,000. Using these figures, the tax rate on property located within the City of Badgerville would be .04 per dollar of assessed value. This rate is often stated in terms of dollars per thousand, which in this case would be $40 per $1,000 of assessed value.
Using the example in the previous question, suppose you own a $50,000 home in the City of Badgerville that is assessed at $45,000. All property in the City of Badgerville is being assessed at 90% of market value.
Your Tax = Your Assessed Value x Tax Rate
Your Tax = $45,000 x .04 = $1,800.00
To view the entire DOR Equalized Values Report go to ww2.revenue.wi.gov/EqValue2/application .