The owners of the historic La Crosse Plow Co. building say the city’s assessment of the building was off by more than $2 million.

JJAWC LLC filed a claim of excessive assessment Jan. 30, contending the building at 525 Second St., next to the downtown Oktoberfest grounds, and an adjacent parcel were worth a total of $172 on Jan.1, 2017, rather than the $2.05 million they were assessed at. According to the claim filed by attorney Don Millis, that would mean the company, which paid nearly $60,000 in property taxes on the two parcels, should have been charged $6 and is entitled to a refund of $59,755.


Kristine Cleary of JJAWC declined to comment on disputed assessed value, citing pending litigation.

La Crosse lead appraiser Patrick Burns assessed the property on behalf of the city.

“We valued what it was built for and came up with a basic value of replacement cost new, and we deduct the depreciation based upon its condition, functional obsolesce or economic obsolesce,” Burns said.

Burns said consideration was also taken for the removal of asbestos.

He estimated that he viewed the property sometime in 2010.

“We can’t view them every year, and the downtown district was looked at in 2003 and 2010,” Burns said.

The company appealed the 2017 assessment of the properties to the city’s Board of Review, which declined to adjust the assessed value. The claim was introduced Thursday during the La Crosse Common Council meeting and will go before the city’s Finance and Personnel Committee March 1 before going back to the full council.

“The council will hear it, either grant it or deny it. Then it’s the option of the parties to go to court,” Burns said.

The La Crosse Plow Co. building was added to the National Register of Historic Places by the Wisconsin Historical Society in 2016. The two-block former factory was constructed in phases between 1914 and 1938 and has been vacant since 1995. The north section was condemned in 2013 because of a crumbling roof.

Photos: 43 buildings in the La Crosse area that no longer exist