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Mayfair area property owners claim excessive property taxes

Feb. 3, 2010

Wauwatosa — Property owners in and near Mayfair Mall - including Macy's and Boston Store - say the city dramatically overvalued their properties in 2009 and have filed claims that could cost the city and other local taxing bodies about $3 million in property tax revenue.

The claims of excessive property tax assessment were presented Tuesday to the Common Council, which referred them to the city attorney's office.

City Attorney Alan Kesner said Wednesday that the claims have already been reviewed, but the city would consider them again before responding within the required 90 days.

If the city continues to stand by its assessments, the property owners would have to file a lawsuit, he said.

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare is seeking to reduce the 2009 property tax bills connected to its clinic and offices at 201 N. Mayfair Road by more than $2 million.

The challenges are based on a claim of property tax exemption as well as excessive property tax assessment.

Kesner said Wheaton Franciscan's claim of a partial tax exemption, based on the clinic's connection to St. Joseph Hospital in Milwaukee, has been in litigation for years.

The owner of Boston Store, 2400 N. Mayfair Road, claims the fair-market value of its property is $11 million - less than half of the city's assessed value of $23.6 million. It is seeking a reduction of $308,547 in property taxes.

Macy's, 2500 N. Mayfair Road, says the city assessed its property at $20.7 million but that the fair market value is only $12.8 million. It is seeking a property tax reduction of $268,028.

The other claims and the amount of refunds or reduction in tax bills they are seeking:

• General Electric Co., 9900 Innovation Drive, $178,763.

• Crowne Plaza Hotel, 10499 Innovation Drive, $178,374.

• Jean and Steve Adamczyk, on their home at 2450 N. 117th St., $3,284.

In some cases, the property owner paid the full 2009 property tax bill and is seeking a refund. In other cases, the property owner is seeking a refund of the first installment and a reduction in the remaining installments that are due.

Kesner said that of the $3 million at stake, roughly 30%, or $900,000, is revenue that would go to the city. The rest would be shared by the school district, Milwaukee County and other taxing bodies.

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