Lack of Civility at Recent Board Meeting

Welcome to the Notes from the Grove, providing information about Liberty Grove town government to residents and visitors.

• On behalf of the Liberty Grove Town Board I want to thank Sister Bay village trustees Patrick Duffy, John Clove, Scott Baker, Shane Solomon, Pam Abshire and village president David Lienau, who suggested the get-together, for meeting with our town board in a joint session to introduce the boards to each other. Trustee Donna Scattergood and Supervisor Lou Covotsos were unable to attend due to previous engagements. We participated in a roundtable introduction, with each person relating their background and how they happened to be residents of the respective communities. The session, which lasted just less than two hours, ended with the consensus to continue the meetings in the future and a pledge of cooperation between the municipalities to work together for the benefit of both communities.

• The board heard a report from Kathy Olson regarding the progress of the cleanup at the former Val A Motel. It was decided to request another cleanup date at the November board meeting. The same was decided regarding the property at 11850 County NP.

• From the Wisconsin Department of Revenue 2013 Guide for Property Owners comes the following regarding town property taxes and how they are determined:

“There are two basic components in any tax: the base and the rate. By multiplying the base times the rate, the amount of tax is determined. In the property tax, the base is the value of all taxable property in the district. The clerk calculates the rate after the governing body of the town, village, or city determines how much money must be raised from the property tax. In Wisconsin the town, village, or city treasurer collects property taxes not only for its own purposes, but also for the school, the county and the state. The assessor of each taxation district determines the assessed value of all taxable property, with the exception of manufacturing property. The Department of Revenue makes the annual assessment of all manufacturing property in the state. The assessed value is the value placed on each parcel of real property and on each individual’s taxable personal property by the local assessor.

State law provides that all non-agricultural assessments must be based upon the market value of property as of January 1. State law recognizes that every municipality cannot be assessed exactly at market value each year. The law allows each municipality to be within 10 percent of market value, provided there is equity between the taxpayers of the municipality. The assessed values determined by the local assessor are recorded in the assessment roll. The assessment roll is open for public inspection. Assessed values are used to determine how much of the property tax will be charged to each property owner.

Because assessors in different taxing districts value property at different percentages of market value, it is necessary for the Department of Revenue to convert the assessed values, by taxing jurisdiction, to a uniform level. These uniform values are called equalized values because all the various local levels of assessment have been equalized and all non-agricultural property has been valued on an equal basis, namely 100 percent of market value. The equalized values are used for apportioning county property taxes, public school taxes, vocational school taxes, and for distributing property tax relief. The assessed value is important for maintaining equity among individual taxpayers within the municipality while the equalized value maintains equity between municipalities and counties.

In summary, equalized values are not only used to distribute the state levy among the counties, but also the equalized values distribute each county’s levy among the municipalities in that county. The assessed values are used to distribute the municipality’s tax burden among the individual property owners.”

• A special board meeting was held Sept. 20 to approve payment of bills after the regular board meeting on Sept. 18 was adjourned following a disturbance during public input. Items not covered on the Sept. 18 meeting will be included at the first meeting of October.

During the public input on receiving bids for the tree cutting on Garrett Bay Road in preparation for next year’s paving project, people on both sides of the issue made errors in judgment. The board and administration are disappointed by the lack of civility displayed at the meeting. This is not what we envision our community to be nor what we believe the community feels is appropriate as well. We all understand that there will be disagreements on how and what should be done on all sorts of issues and projects facing the town. We need, however, to be civil and respectful of each other’s positions, opinions and the decision-making process of the town government.