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Tax bill comparison is a mixed bag

Even with steady levies, valuation drops could cause tax rate hikes

Dec. 20, 2011

Tax bills have either arrived or are on the way in the various North Shore communities.

Although employees of the village or city where you live make the collections, each tax bill represents the sum of several taxing bodies, including schools, Milwaukee Area Technical College, the state and county. Milwaukee County bills include a tax bill for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, while residents in Mequon are billed for sewer only if they are connected to MMSD.

Apples-to-apples comparisons among the communities are impossible to make. The tax bill in some communities includes refuse collection and street repairs, but not in others where property owners contract for garbage collection or pay assessments for street and sidewalk repairs.

The seven Milwaukee County communities have a full time fire department with ambulance and paramedic services; Mequon and Thiensville have volunteer departments.

Finally, tax rates are a simple computation, the sum of the levies divided by the valuation of a community. Although many taxing bodies held their levies to zero percent increases, the tax rates may have risen because the valuation in the community dropped.

The break down for each community follows.

Bayside

The Bayside tax bill depends not only on what elementary school district your property is in, but whether or not it is in Ozaukee or Milwaukee County. Three tax bills are calculated to account for those differences.

Property owners in the Milwaukee County/Fox Point-Bayside school district have the only decrease in the overall tax levy, a 0.55 percent drop, but the tax bill for 2011 totals $8,773, down from the $8,788 of 2010. Although the levy was down, the equalized value of the village dropped, leading to higher tax rates. The tax rate increased from $24.68 to $25.92 per $1,000 of assessed value. The value of the average assessed house in the village dropped from $356,100 to $338,567 from year to year.

The Ozaukee County portion of the Fox Point-Bayside School District shows a tax levy increase of 0.75 percent, or taxes of $7,714 as compared to $7,777 a year ago. The tax rate increased from $21.84 to $22.79 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The other bill, for owners in the Maple Dale-Indian Hill District, which is solely in Milwaukee County, shows a tax levy increase of 0.98 percent. The bill for the average home would be $8,398, up from $8,371 a year ago. The tax rate of $23.51 per $1,000 of assessed value increased to $24.81 per $1,000 of assessed value.

According to village staff, the property tax levy decreased for the Fox Point-Bayside ($180,488) and Maple Dale-Indian Hill ($109,001) school districts, MATC ($4,288) and the state of Wisconsin ($1,879). The property tax levy for the village remained the same. There were increases in the tax levies for MMSD ($27,225), Nicolet School District ($193,363), and both Milwaukee ($110,927) and Ozaukee County ($574).

Brown Deer

The total tax rate in the village increased to $28.58 per $1,000 of assessed value, up from $27.99 a year ago. Although the total tax levy decreased, the valuation of the village also decreased, leading to a higher tax rate. Among the six taxing bodies on the village tax bill, the levy for Milwaukee County was the only one that increased, by 0.59 percent or $27,442. That was more than offset by a $74,049 decrease in the Milwaukee Area Technical College, by $6,221 in the state levy and a $7,957 decrease in the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. The village and school district levies remained the same as 2010.

For the owner of a house assessed at $152,488, taxes would increase from $4,267 on 2010 to $4,358 for 2011.

Fox Point

Tax rates jumped in both of the K8 school districts, from $24.51 in 2010 to $25.37 per $1,000 of assessed value in the Fox Point-Bayside School District and from $23.30 to $24.43 per $1,000 of assessed value in the Maple Dale-Indian Hill District.

Levies for all taxing bodies on the tax bill increased with the exception of the two K8 districts, which both decreased.

Fox Point does not calculate the value of the average home in the village.

Glendale

The city had the largest drop in equalized value of any of the Milwaukee County suburbs. Assessed values of houses in the city dropped 10.8 percent.

Tax rates for the two K8 school districts climbed but because of the drop in property values, tax bills for residents whose property dropped the average amount will be less.

The majority of residents live in the Glendale-River Hills School District. Referendums approved for both that district and the Nicolet School District are part of this year's tax bill. The rate for the Glendale-River Hills district increased by $1.71 per $1,000 of assessed value, from $22.75 a year ago to the current $24.46. A home valued at $200,000 a year ago now has a value of $177,400.

Taxes on that house for 2011 are $4,339, a drop from the $4,550 of a year ago.

In the Maple Dale district, taxes increased by 0.80 cents, from $23.84 to $24.65 per $1,000 of assessed value. The owner of a house valued at $177,400 will pay $4,372 compared to $4,768 a year ago.

Mequon

The city is a little complicated with two school districts and properties in or out of the area with sewers.

Property owners in the Mequon-Thiensville School District have a net tax rate decrease to $15.40 per $1,000 of assessed value, down from the $15.95 rate of a year ago. Those in the Cedarburg School District saw a greater drop, from $15.49 to $14.32 per $1,000 of assessed valued. Taxes for the owner of a house valued at $354,000 in the Mequon-Thiensville District would drop from $5,649 to $5,451.

The owner of a similar property in the Cedarburg district dropped from $5,483 to $5,069 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The Cedarburg School District is entirely out of the sewer district; some of the Mequon-Thiensville district is in the sewer district. Property in the sewer district will have a 1 cent increase in the sewer tax rate to $1.87 per $1,000 of assessed value, or a $3.54 increase on a $354,000 house.

River Hills

Another community parceled between two school districts, residents in the Glendale-River Hills School District will see a larger increase in taxes than those in the Maple Dale-Indian Hill School District. Voters in both the Glendale-River Hills and Nicolet School District approved referendums last April that allowed the districts to increase spending.

For the owner of an average house in the Glendale-River Hills district assessed at $750,000, taxes will be $18,562, up from $17,467 a year ago. The tax rate for that district is $24.75 per $1,000 of assessed value, up from $23.29 a year ago.

The average $750,000 home in the Maple Dale district will see a smaller increase in the tax rate, from $24.45 a year ago to $24.96 per $1,000 of assessed value this year. Taxes on that house will be $18,720, up from $18,337 a year ago.

The overall levy increased 2.76 percent from a year ago, with all taxing bodies showing an increase except for the village which has a decrease of 0.1 percent.

Shorewood

Taxes for the owner of a house with the average assessed value of $300,000 will see an increase in taxes from $7,629 a year ago to $7,743 this year. The tax rate increased from $25.43 to $25.80 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The net total levy increased by $554,401, or 1.46 percent.

Thiensville

The village has only five taxing bodies on its tax bill, Ozaukee County, MATC, village, Mequon-Thiensville School District and state. They add up to a net tax rate of $18.56 per $1,000 of assessed value, a drop from last year's rate of $19.07 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Taxes on a house valued at $241,200 will drop from $4,600 to $4,477 this year.

Whitefish Bay

The owner of a house with an assessed value of $400,000 will see a slight increase in taxes this year as the net tax rate increased by 18 cents, from $22.34 to $22.52 per $1,000 of assessed value. Taxes will be $9,008 on that house, up from $8,936 last year.

Levies for the Silver Spring Tax Increment District, the School District, and the state decreased while those for the village, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Milwaukee County increased.

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