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Property owners could pay too much or too little

Lake Holcombe Town Board

Assessment is a source of concern for the Lake Holcombe Town Board, as members wonder if taxpayers are paying too much or too little on their property. The matter was discussed at a regular meeting Dec. 12, with a proposed assessor’s letter from long-time town assessor Claude Riglemon.

“He’s pretty concerned about losing us as a customer, as he’s never lost a customer,” said Guthman.

In the past, the board had talked about retaining a new assessor and with the time coming to do a new assessment, members are looking into someone else for the service. It might not be as easy as it sounds, however.

Clerk Tracey Larson said she talked to an assessor in Eau Claire, about possibly switching services and what the town’s options are.

“He said it’s not easy to have a new assessor, because Claude does not have to give him his info,” said Larson. “He’d (new assessor) basically have to start from scratch.”

“We paid for that information,” pointed out treasurer Jim Mataczynski.

Guthman agreed, that if the town paid for the assessment information, the records should belong to the town. Supervisor Doug Olson said he would like to see that become part of the contract, if the board decides to renew the services.

As for the contract, Olson questioned if the board actually has a contract with Riglemon. Larson says it’s always been a continual hiring of the assessor, so there hasn’t really been an official contract.

Olson also said he wants to see a monthly progress report, instead of just an invoice for payment. He says he has nothing against Riglemon, that it’s just due diligence on the board’s part.

Guthman said the assessing definitely has places to look at, as some people with small parcels are paying large taxes, while million dollar properties only pay a small portion.

“I’m not saying people should pay more taxes, but it should be fair,” said Guthman.

Because Riglemon said he will be at the next board meeting, members agreed to table the matter until that time.

The board also talked about outdated ordinances and possibly forming a committee to address the matter. Olson says he has looked at the ordinances on the books, but doesn’t know what should be in an ordinance and what should not.

Guthman says he is also unsure if an attorney writes the ordinances or just approves changes from the board.

“Maybe what we need to do, is sit down and look at the ordinances we want them to update,” said Guthman, adding it’s hard to keep up, as laws change so much all the time.

Larson says she will look up templates on the Town’s Association site and ask the Town of Willard, who has a monthly ordinance updates committee, how to go about the process. Guthman says ordinances are a lot of guess work for town officials.

“You almost have to be an attorney to know if stuff is right or not,” he said. “It’s not going to be an easy task.”

Guthman says before the town does anything, they want to make sure the wording in ordinances is legal.

“I think we have to have an attorney review,” said Olson.

A piece of business that did get done, was to accept a bid on the town’s 1999 IH 2500 series plow truck, with more than 122,000 miles on it and a Monroe dump box.

Submitting sealed bids, were Terry Geist, with $7,500; Thomas Strzok, with $3,625; Wayne Craker, with $4,005; and Paul Gilbertson, with $3,295.

Because it came in as the highest bid, members accepted the bid from Geist.