Homeowners: Our town raised our taxes because we closed the door on inspectors

A Dover, Wis., couple says their property taxes rose after they refused to let a government-contracted appraiser inside their house during a 2013 reassessment of local property values, according to a lawsuit filed late last month in Racine County Circuit Court.

The suit, submitted by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), alleges the town and Gardiner Appraisal Service assessed the property of Vincent Milewski and Morganne MacDonald at an “excessive, arbitrary and discriminatory level” to bully the married couple into accepting “future intrusive searches.”

An assessor tried to view the parcel on Aug. 20, 2013, but left when MacDonald told the employee they could only inspect the property from the exterior, according to the lawsuit.

“State law does not require assessors to view the interior of homes, and the assessors here did not even bother asking the Plaintiffs about the condition of their home, instead assuming, without any evidence, that the Plaintiffs had engaged in costly alterations and upgrades of their interior,” the lawsuit says.

The couple’s parcel was assessed at $307,100, a 10.56 percent increase from the previous year’s assessment of $277,761, according to the lawsuit. Milewski and MacDonald believe their property should’ve been assessed at $232,600, resulting in a decrease of $1,268.71 in property taxes.

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