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Shorewood could hire consultant to work on assessment error

Sept. 7, 2011

In an effort to expedite review of an error that could raise property taxes, Shorewood officials are grappling with a proposal to contract with financial advisory firm Ehlers and Associates.

The proposal, announced at a Village Board meeting Tuesday, is an attempt to undo a data-entry error that allegedly was made by the village's outside assessor.

Village officials assert Associated Appraisal Consultants, the outside assessor, reported one of Shorewood's tax-incremental financing districts had growth of $77 million, instead of $77,000. The mistake was revealed several weeks ago when the state Department of Revenue published its list of municipal equalized values.

Because of the error, Village Manager Chris Swartz said Shorewood could face the possibility of having to raise an additional $2 million in taxes for 2012, resulting in a 5.8 percent increase in the tax bill.

"If this happens, the village would request an adjustment in 2013, which would result in a similar tax decrease," Swartz said.

Speaking with the board Tuesday, Swartz said it was a worst-case scenario. He is hoping to work with State Sen. Alberta Darling and State Rep. Sandy Pasch. To that end, Swartz proposed developing a case with Ehlers' expertise to have the matter resolved before the village approves its tax levy in November.

The Village Board is scheduled to act on the Ehlers proposal later this month.

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