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Muskego preparing for property revaluations

City assessors predicts 15 percent decrease in most values

Oct. 5, 2012

Muskego - Owners of Muskego homes and businesses will get notices of their new property tax evaluations late next spring.

The Muskego assessor's office will start revaluing all properties in the city this month as the city goes forward with its four-year revaluation cycle. City assessor Laura Mecha said she expects an average fall of 15 percent in the total assessed value of the city, based on in-house analysis.

In 2008, the year of the last revaluation, assessed values slipped about 2 percentage points and have slipped 3 or 4 percentage points each year since then, she estimated. Seemingly hardest hit have been homes valued at less than $200,000 and condominiums, she said. But location and other factors affect individual assessments, Mecha said.

This month, she will start compiling sales from the last two years to extract land values and get a sense of neighborhoods that need to get more attention to get accurate assessments, Mecha said. While people kept properties off the market in 2009 fearing that they would not be able to get enough for them in the dramatic housing slump, there are plenty of sales to use as samples for the revaluation, she said.

The reassessment will involve driving to each property. Only sample interior inspections will be needed, she said.

The revaluation will officially kick off Jan. 1. Muskego will hire a revaluation firm to handle most of it. After the new assessments go out at the end of March or the end of April at the latest, there will be a two-week open book period giving those who question their assessments a chance to easily compare theirs with other properties. Those who want to contest their new assessments can be scheduled for a hearing before the Board of Review after that.

The reassessment was to have taken place this year but was delayed a year. The clerk's office would have been swamped with all the mailings and scheduling hearings for the revaluation on top of handling the presidential election, Mecha said.

As it turned out, the clerk's office also had to cope with recall elections.

New Berlin completed its revaluation this year and Mecha said, "I give New Berlin credit for having pulled it off."

While the New Berlin assessor said he could see signs of the housing slide bottoming out in that community, Mecha was not as optimistic for Muskego.

For every couple of homes that sold close to their assessed value, Mecha said, "there's a fistful of lower ones telling me the market hasn't settled down."

The revaluation is going forward despite the market instability because it's too difficult to peg a good time to take what amounts to a snapshot of values, she said.

"You could chase the market forever," she said.

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