My downtown property was just reassessed at a value of $478,000, from $252,000 a year ago. The main reason for this increase is that I invested in my building, converting a large empty space into two apartments. So starting next year, my property taxes will go nearly double to about $10,000. This increase will take a huge bite out of the profit I had hoped to gain by working and investing.
Now my point here is not merely to complain about my situation. Rather, it is to question our collective approach to development here in Racine.
If you look around Racine, you will notice a few things. You will notice areas where properties are in poor shape, ie low property value. You will also notice a near total absence of undeveloped areas, such as farms. As such, if Racine wants to increase its property tax base, it is imperative that existing properties be upgraded.
Presently, property owners who are allowing their properties to decline in value are subject to the property police, called UNIT, and their unconstitution fines masquerading as fees. Those who invest in their properties will be slammed with huge tax increases.
The city has a stick only approach to development. How about some carrots?