Dramatic hike in Milwaukee residential property assessments leave some homeowners and city leaders shocked

NOW: Dramatic hike in Milwaukee residential property assessments leave some homeowners and city leaders shocked


MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58)-- Milwaukee’s 11th District Alderman says thousands of homeowners in the city received property assessments on ‘steroids,’ with one home assessed nearly $200,000 more than it was last year.

Alderman Mark Borkowski says he’s received non-stop calls and emails from homeowners shocked at this year’s assessments. Now he wants to propose a resolution to reduce the burden in Milwaukee neighborhoods.

“I have one individual whose assessment went up $185,000,” said Ald. Borkowski, who represents Milwaukee’s 11th aldermanic district.

That’s just one in thousands of assessments Ald. Borkowski says shocked him.

“We have a person at the office whose assessment went up $87,000,” he adds. “She tells me it’s 1,200 square feet and it’s worth $277,000? I mean I don’t know what planet we’re on.”

He says with the pandemic, the last thing people need to worry about is their home. Ald. Borkowski received his assessment letter on Saturday.

“Whoever sent this out at this time that was a stupid act,” Ald. Borkowski says. “I don’t care if it was The Mayor or if it was you Mr. Assessor, but that is not the right time to do it.”

Alderman Borkowski is now proposing a resolution that would freeze the assessment rate from last year.

“We obviously must have been counting on these revenues to make things work right? So that being said, we’re going to have to tighten our belts even more, and I’m willing to do that,” he adds.

Milwaukee’s Assessment Commissioner, Steve Miner, says the timing was not his decision.

“The timing of reassessments is managed by the state statutes, and Milwaukee has specific statutes that dictate the timing,” says Miner.

Miner says there are 140 neighborhoods in the city, and the assessments are based on last year’s sales, so you won’t see the virus’ effects on your property value until next year.

“We have to use information that’s available as of January 1st so the things that are happening right now will be used for the upcoming 2021 assessment,” Miner adds.

Miner encourages homeowners who don’t agree with their assessments to file an appeal during the informal open book period, which starts Monday and ends mid-May.

“If you have a concern, you want to make sure you jump on this right away,” Miner said. “You don’t want to wait because there is a deadline.”

Still, Ald. Borkowski says the dramatic hike in assessments could leave a lasting impact.

“I can only imagine how many people are thinking about leaving Milwaukee because they simply can’t afford it,” says Ald. Borkowski.

The last day of the open book is May 18th, which is also the deadline to file an appeal.

You can begin filing an appeal by emailing or calling the city assessor’s office, for more information, click here.

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