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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 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 totaling $8,240 and nearly $6,000 Shorewood paid for Ehlers and Associates to 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.

David Tatarowicz April 09, 2012 at 11:38 PM
I Don't Understand !! In his campaign literature to get elected to the Shorewood Village Board (to which he was previously appointed and not elected to) Thad Nation said that HE got the tax situation fixed at the state level, with his political expertise as a political consultant --- and that he was able to use his talents in getting Alberta Darling to help support the legislation ... But now in this article it says that Shoerwood paid outside consultants to lobby Alberta Darling (quote below) so which was it --- Mr Nation with his political brilliance, or Shorewood just paying another lobbyist to sway a politician ??? "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 " By The Way --- did anybody ask Alberta first if we needed to spend $6,000 to sway her, or would she have simply helped out?
Avner Zarmi April 10, 2012 at 06:37 PM
David: At the Men's Club Candidates Forum, Mr Nation made the same outrageous statement. However, here is what actually happened. I and a friend were among the people who attended (as spectators) the Board Meeting in which the assessment error was discussed. The Board appeared ina quandary. My friend (whom I do nothave permission to name, so he'll have to speak up for himself, if he wishes) and I independently got the same idea, and wrote to Senator Darling and her staff. They graciously consented to a meeting with the village board, the results of which you see above. In response to a direct question from my wife at an event after the Men's Club Forum, Sen. Darling denied having heard anything whatever from Mr Nation, and acknowledged having received my e-mail and that of my friend, which were the impetus for her meeting with the board. If they hired any "lobbysists", it appears they were ineffective.
Joe Peterlin April 17, 2012 at 03:04 PM
There are several points that need to be made here. First, our Village Manager, Chris Swartz or Village Staff should have noticed this error before it was published. On this point, the Village Board has done absolutely nothing to address the oversight responsibility of the Village Manager, or the Village Staff, regarding this error, even though residents repeatedly asked the Village Board to follow up in this manner. Secondly, offers were made to Trustee, Don Ford and to Village Manager, Swartz, shortly after this error was discovered, to assist in resolving the situation. These offers were completely ignored. The fact of the matter is that this error could have been resolved without spending a dime of taxpayer funds, but partisanship and egos refused to allow it to happen that way. Trustee Nation had absolutely nothing to do with the resolution of this error, even though he attempted to take credit for it during his recent campaign. Sickening, on all three counts.

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