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Village of Roberts: Questions answered about property assessments

The Roberts Village Board invited assessor Eric Kleven of Kleven Property Assessment to its regular meeting last Monday, Feb. 12 .

"We asked you to come back to understand better the assessment," said Board President Willard Moeri.

Trustee Rand Waughtal said he felt he'd let the community down, because he didn't have enough information to answer their questions about the assessment.

Kleven explained that property tax assessments must fall within a certain range of equalized values set by the Department of Revenue. When a municipality falls out of compliance, it is given six years to get back into compliance, or do a re-assessment. If the municipality goes back into compliance within those six years, the clock starts over, Kleven said.

Kleven said the assessments came later this year, because the DOR's equalized value numbers don't come out until August. Once those have been released, the assessment process can begin.

"This won't happen again for quite some time," Kleven said "We were in compliance last year, for 2017, we were in compliance.

He said hopefully, next year will be in compliance as well.

Even if the village was not in compliance for next year's tax season, Kleven said, the earliest another reassessment would need to happen would be in six years.

He also urged board members to put residents with property tax assessment questions in touch with him.

Kleven said he includes an extra sheet of paper with his assessment letter, explaining a bit more about property tax assessment values.

He said just because the village's assessed value went up a certain percent doesn't mean an individual's assessment will have gone up that much. It could have gone up more, less, or even gone down.

United to Amend

A representative of Western Wisconsin United to Amend spoke to the board. WWUTA is a group that is campaigning to ask local municipal governments county governments and state governments to pass a resolution showing support for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would state that organizations, corporations, etc. are not individuals, and that the payment, spending or donation of money is not considered freedom of speech.

This is in response to the Citizens United court decision by the U.S. Supreme Court years ago.

So far, 19 states have adopted such a resolution.

The St. Croix County Board has passed a motion that will allow everyone in St. Croix County to vote on this issue via referendum on the April Ballot.

Treatment plant

Concerns were shared with the village board during public comment time by a resident about the village deciding to contest a requirement observing lake levels. This resident said this demonstrates the board has no intention of actually taking a look at the issue of the wastewater treatment plant, and the water discharged by it.

The level of Twin Lakes has been rising since the 90s, and with the addition of several years of above average rainfall, the lake levels have risen again.

It was also said during the meeting there is a market for the water pumped out of the treatment plant, and it could be used in other ways than just pumping it into the lake. However, the market is not year-round, much of the market for this water is highly seasonal, such as irrigation. It is an option the village has been exploring.

The village has been asked by the Department of Natural Resources to implement a CLEARAS treatment system. The resident who spoke at the meeting said this would solve the problem with phosphorus in the water, but would not address the rising water levels.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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