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Property taxes

More than half of the 55 different taxing areas in La Crosse County lowered their property tax rates in 2014.

So, taxes should be down in those 36 areas, right? Not necessarily. 

The tax rate for town of Shelby residents within the West Salem School District, for example, dropped by almost 11 percent from the previous year, the biggest change in the county. But that primarily was due to a comprehensive re-valuation in 2014, something town officials said hadn’t been done in years.

So while some town residents could see a lower tax bill if their property value stayed relatively the same, those who have done significant home improvements or built new might have a corresponding bump in taxes as well.

It’s why putting off a reassessment can yield short-term benefits but makes for more sticker shock when finally done.

West Salem, too, did a complete reassessment in 2014, its first in five years. But since state law mandates the tax levy can’t rise past the value of new construction, that revaluation resulted in a reduction in the tax rate – in West Salem’s case, by 8 percent.

“The amount was spread out more evenly,” village Administrator Teresa Schnitzler said.

Not that the town and village wouldn’t have welcomed the extra revenue. Both Shelby and West Salem saw referendums for additional funding fail in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

It has meant prioritizing projects and letting some problems go unaddressed, some streets and equipment deteriorate, Schnitzler said.

“If we have an emergency,” she said, “I guess we’ll borrow.” But for now, there are no plans to try the referendum again.

Shelby is trying to address its needs “intellegently … making some adjustments,” town Chairman Tim Candahl said.

“The roads are our main concern,” Candahl said.

County taxpayers also benefited from Gov. Scott Walker’s decision to provide millions in state funding to technical colleges in 2015 to shift some of the burden away from local property tax rolls.

While La Crosse residents within the La Crosse School District continue to have the highest tax rate in the county at $29.04 per $1,000 of property value, that’s almost 3 percent less than in 2013. Sixteen of the 55 taxing areas in the county have a rate that tops $20.

The lowest rate is $14.82 per $1,000 in the town of Medary, for those living within the Onalaska School District.

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Per capita municipal levies for 2014

La Crosse County municipal tax levies for 2014

Municipality Levy Population Tax Rate (per $1,000) Per capita levy
City of La Crosse $37,673,957 52,018 $12.24 $724
City of Onalaska $10,759,708 18,159 $6.51 $593
Town of Washington $153,499 553 $3.53 $278
Town of Hamilton $468,866 2,457 $2.12 $191
Town of Greenfield $388,000 2,093 $2.62 $185
Village of Bangor $379,645 1,480 $5.48 $257
Town of Farmington $325,468 2,075 $2.30 $157
Town of Onalaska $720,967 5,704 $1.63 $126
Town of Burns $174,249 951 $2.29 $183
Town of Bangor $138,487 614 $3.01 $226
Town of Shelby $1,409,500 4,707 $3.46 $299
Village of West Salem $1,243,633 4,938 $3.58 $252
Town of Campbell $1,093,848 4,339 $3.58 $252
Village of Holmen $2,473,771 9,413 $4.66 $263
Village of Rockland $90,907 614 $3.36 $148
Town of Medary $113,160 1,491 $0.79 $76
Town of Holland $447,321 3,895 $1.45 $115
Town of Barre $117,959 1,239 $1.22 $95

Local news editor

(13) comments


Good golly, the $100 savings this year more than makes up for the $5000 ACT 10 pay cut my 1st grade teaching wife took!!

Melowese Richardson

Sorry, Shameless, but I'm sure your wife didn't take a $5000 pay cut. Another spin mesister in action.


I can most certainly assure you she did.

Melowese Richardson

And I can most certainly assure you that she is making the same, or more (depending on any pay increase(s) she may have had in the interim) than she was prior to act 10. She did NOT have her salary reduced by $5000 per year.

logical thinker

Actually, I can vouch for that pay cut as I took one about that size as well. I promise! For real!! That is why I am so excited about my $5.17 property tax cut (see below)!!!!!

Melowese Richardson

So your salary went from $45,000 a year to $40,000 a year. Is that what you're telling me?? I don't believe it for a minute.


Well, property values have decreased significantly, resulting in less tax revenue for communities. Walker has kicked the can down to municipalities, who will now be the bad guys when local taxes raise. And about that $2.2B deficit? Esteemed? Don't think so.

Mason Man

Yes these modest tax cuts are due to Walker's brave reforms. But La Crosse county and especially the City of La Crosse taxes are a travesty!

logical thinker

(see articles on Wisconsin budget woes...)

David Jarzemski

Let's give credit for lower property taxes to our esteemed governor...

logical thinker

Absolutely! I am planning to celebrate my $5.17 savings this year in March. I will salute Governor Walker over a flavored latte purchased at a local business. I feel fancy!

Condor Kid

Or that $5 pot pie at KFC. Something good! Yumm...


mine did not go down. Will wanker send me a check ?

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