Village Hopes to Recoup $25,000 It Paid to Resolve Assessment Error
Shorewood is asking to be reimbursed for attorney and consultant fees; village assessor Associated Appraisal Consultants Inc. says it has filed a claim with its insurance company for the $25,000.
Shorewood shelled out $25,000 last fall as officials worked to realize a remedy to an assessment error that would have dramatically artificially inflated local property taxes.
Now the village wants the money back from the firm it says made the error.
Records released Monday to Shorewood Patch show the village spent $25,755 on legal and consulting fees and more as a result of the error. The village is asking Associated Appraisal Consultants Inc., its contracted assessment firm, to reimburse Shorewood for those costs.
The assessment error made last summer valued Shorewood's Tax Incremental District No. 1, which blankets much of the business district, at $77 million instead of $77,000.
The fees include work by law firm Reinhart Boerner to draft an appeal to the state Department of Revenue totaling $8,240 and nearly $6,000 Shorewood paid for Ehlers and Associates to develop a case officials later presented to Sen. Darling Darling (R-River Hills) to get the problem fixed.
Shorewood also is seeking $4,132 for work performed by village staff and $450 for work done by Village Attorney Ray Pollen related to the error.
Mark Brown of Associated Appraisal Consultant told Patch Monday that a claim was submitted to the firm's insurance company last year based on the $25,000 Shorewood is seeking, and it is still pending.
The error forced the village to add an additional $2 million to its levy. To avoid an artificial spike in property taxes, Shorewood officials decreased the levy by $2 million, borrowed to fund the difference, and will raise the levy next year by the same amount.
Darling, working on Shorewood's behalf, drafted legislation that became law, and allowed the village to mask the effects of the error from property taxpayers.
The legislation gave Shorewood an exception to state law that prohibits municipalities from increasing its tax levy for any reason other than through development or referendum.
Shorewood is also seeking $7,000 for interest on the money it borrowed to supplement lowering its levy.
Village Manager Chris Swartz said all signs say Associated Appraisal will reimburse Shorewood the $25,000.
However, if Associated Appraisal neglects to provide Shorewood the funds, it will seek ligation, Swartz said.
“We will get back the money,” he said.
The Village Board will discuss Shorewood's contract with Associated Appraisal soon, Swartz said. The assessor's contract with Shorewood expires at the end of the year.