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March 31, 2013 Re-Assessment Information
Mar 31, 2013
PDF Version: 10934_2013-Mar-31_March 31, 2013 Re-Assessment Information.pdf

Town Revaluation in 2013

The Town Board has approved a full municipal revaluation for 2013. The purpose of the revaluation is to establish new assessed values, based on current market conditions, for all properties as of January 1st, 2012. The last revaluation in Lyons occurred in 2008. Associated Appraisal Consultants, Inc., has been retained to conduct the revaluation and act as municipal assessor for the Town of Lyons.

Assessment staff will be visiting all properties in the town over the next several months. In order to make accurate assessments, it is necessary for the appraisers to conduct an interior and exterior review of all homes, apartments and businesses in the town. A brief interior walk-through is necessary for consideration of the features, quality, and condition of each residence or structure. These factors can significantly impact market value. In addition, the appraisers will be taking exterior photos of your property. Please note, the appraisers have no interest in your housekeeping or your personal belongings.

All staff members from Associated Appraisal will carry a letter of introduction from the town, a photo ID, and drive a red vehicle displaying the Associated Appraisal company name. If no one is home when visiting a property, a doorhanger will be placed on the main entrance with instructions on how to schedule an interior review. All courtesies and considerations shown the appraisers will be greatly appreciated.

Notices of assessment will be distributed when the property reviews are complete and new assessed values are determined for each property. Property owners will have an opportunity to discuss the assessed values with an Associated Appraisal representative at the Open Book session. After the Open Book session, property owners will have the opportunity to appeal an assessment to the Board of Review. The Notices of Assessment will contain the dates and times of the Open Book and Board of Review meetings.

The Town of Lyons thanks you for your help and cooperation in ensuring a successful revaluation program.

Common Revaluation Questions:

Some of my neighbors have told me the only reason for the reassessment is to raise taxes. Is this true?
No. The reassessment has no impact on the total amount of taxes collected. However, it may change your property’s percentage share of total taxes collected.

Why do you need to inspect the interior of my home?
There is no question that a reassessment inspection is an inconvenience. For that, we apologize. However, building size, age, features, quality, and condition, along with many other factors affect the market value of your property. The only way to ensure a fair market value is to collect current exterior and interior data for each property. We are not concerned with your housekeeping nor personal belongings. This information will not be recorded and will be kept confidential.

What if I refuse to allow the assessor into my home?
The Wisconsin Legislature recognizes the conflict between the right of privacy and the need for accurate information when establishing assessments. If an owner refuses entry into the property, the assessor sends a certified letter requesting a reasonable time for viewing the home. If no response is received, or entry is refused, the assessor is required, by law, to estimate the value of the home based on the best available information. The property owner maintains his right of privacy, but loses all rights of appeal to the Board of Review.

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 of their new 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 decrease in value in a given year. Yet in another neighborhood for example, there may be no change in value, or even an increase 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 declining in value more slowly than newer homes. 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, finished basement, garages, overall condition as well as many others.

What is the bottom line?
Revaluations are periodically required by state law and are designed to keep assessments current with prevailing market conditions. The real issue is whether your property is assessed at market value. After the revaluation, you should look at your final assessment. 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.

Notice of Assessor’s Authority to Enter Land:

The trespass law in Wisconsin entitles the assessor to enter a property once during an assessment cycle unless the property owner has notified the assessor in advance to deny entry. Additional visits may be authorized by the property owner. Assessors are restricted to the following conditions when entering property:

() The reason for the entry must be to make an assessment on behalf of the state or a political subdivision.
() The entry must be on a weekday during daylight hours, or at another time as agreed upon with the property owner.
() The assessor’s visit must not be more than one hour.
() The assessor must not open doors, enter through open doors, or look into windows of structures.
() If the property owner or occupant is not present, the assessor must leave a notice on the principal building providing the owner with information on how to contact them.
() The assessor may not enter the premises if they have received a notice from the property owner or occupant denying them entry.
() The assessor must leave if the property owner or occupant asks them to leave.

In 2009, Wisconsin Act 68 was enacted to amend Section 70.05(5)(b) Wis. Stats. and to create Section 70.05 (4m), 895, 488, 943.13 (4m)(d) and 943.15(1m) of the statutes; relating to: partially exempting an assessor and an assessor’s staff from liability for trespassing, creating immunity from civil liability, and changing the notice requirements relating to the revaluation of property by an assessor. Copies of the applicable statutes can be obtained at public depositories throughout the State of Wisconsin, and from the State of Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau website (www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb/stats.html)

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