Several Beloit firms dispute property-tax assessments

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BELOIT - The Beloit City Council met in closed session Monday and approved the city joining the review and appeal process as Kerry Inc. challenges its 2018 state property value assessment.

Monday's resolution will add the city as a party during the Wisconsin Tax Appeals Commission hearing process, according to City Attorney Elizabeth Krueger.

The city has until Dec. 19 to file a cross petition to be a party to the appeals process.

"This is so we have a seat at the table at these hearings," Krueger said.

Kerry filed its petition on Nov. 19 claiming its full value assessment of $34.11 million for its 3400 Millington Road should be $22 million, more than $12 million lower than the state findings.

An additional Kerry property at 3330 Millington Road was also in question, with the company challenging its assessment of $1.05 million should be $300,000, $756,500 less than assessed.

According to the state review of the assessment, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue is recommending no change to the properties assessment from this year. Kerry claimed its assessed value exceeds the fair market value of the properties, also claiming other manufacturing properties show lower assessed value.

In Beloit, multiple businesses have disputed property assessments including Staples Distribution Center, Menards and Woodman's. In July of 2017, the city approved refunding Staples $345,000 in taxes paid by the company in 2016.

On June 27, Staples Contract & Commercial LLC filed a lawsuit against the city in an attempt to recover property taxes paid by Staples from the January 2018 assessment period, claiming the assessment was "in excess of fair market values," according to the lawsuit. According to Staples, the assessment of $14 million was nearly $4 million over market value, lawsuit documents show.

The city also reached a settlement with Menards in August of 2017 to lower its property assessment to $8.7 million in 2017 and $8.5 million in 2016 from $9.5 million respectively. The company was refunded $21,269 as part of the settlement and the retailer paid $256,784 in 2016 property taxes compared to $246,059 last year, according to the Rock County Tax Database.

In July of 2017 and July of 2018, Woodman's Food Market Inc. also filed lawsuits against the city seeking property taxes paid relating to its 2017 and 2018 assessments. In total for both lawsuits, Woodman's is seeking more than $7 million, court records show.

Both cases remain ongoing.

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