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Wednesday

September 2014

17

Lisbon sees lower tax bills

Town of Lisbon - Many Lisbon property owners are paying less in real estate taxes this year compared to last year because of lower school taxes.

It is not an unusual for Village of Sussex taxpayers to occasionally experience lower real estate tax bills because the assessed valuation of properties for tax purposes are adjusted yearly and will cause tax bills to rise and fall, according to Village Clerk Sue Freiheit.

Assessed valuations in the town are not adjusted yearly, according Town Clerk/Administrator Jeff Musche. Musche said he could not estimate the number of lower tax bills in the town but he said many of them belong to homeowners living in the Arrowhead, Merton community, and Hamilton school district.

"The Merton school district taxes went down about 3 percent; there was very little change in Arrowhead taxes. They practically flat-lined and there was a little decrease in Hamilton taxes for a Town of Lisbon residents," he explained.

He said he did not know how much the average tax bill reduction was this year. There were, however, indications of reductions of $45 to $50 on some tax bills for homeowners who lived in the Merton and Arrowhead school districts.

Merton Community School District is an elementary and middle school district that serves the western edge of the town. Arrowhead is a high school district that serves most town residents who live west of Highway 164. Residents living east of Highway 164 are served by the Hamilton district which is kindergarten through high school.

Musche said a slight reduction in the town's equalized valuation was a factor that contributed to the decrease in school taxes.

The equalized valuation is the estimated value of all properties within a district or municipality as established by the state Department of Revenue. It is usually a higher and more up-to-date estimate than the assessed valuation of a community which is established by the local assessor.

The equalized valuation is intended to make sure that each community within a school district contributes equitably to funding the district.

Musche explained that when a community's equalized valuation is lowered, it often pays less of a share that year in the school district tax levy.

The tax levy is the total amount of taxes a school district or municipality seeks to raise. The tax rate is the amount each individual home owner pays toward the levy based on the assessed valuation of their property.

While school taxes represent the biggest share of an individual tax bill, other government units such as Waukesha County, Waukesha County Technical College and the state contributed to the lower tax bill with lower individual levies in 2012 compared to 2011. The Town of Lisbon was the only increase on the tax bill with a 1.1-per cent increase above 2011.

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