A proposal introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature in November 2007 would limit the ability of property owners (other than manufacturers) to challenge their assessments in de novo proceedings in circuit court.
Under present law, a non-manufacturing property owner must appeal its assessment to the local board of review. If the property owner is not satisfied following the board of review hearing, the property owner can file a claim against the municipality and then file a suit in circuit court, which proceeds as an independent civil action without regard to what occurred at the board of review.
Under the proposed legislation, municipalities will have the option of adopting an ordinance which somewhat expands the procedures before the board of review, and somewhat expands the scope of a certiorari appeal of the board decision to circuit court, in which the court has traditionally been limited to a review of the board of review record with no new evidence permitted. In any municipality which enacts such an ordinance, property owners would be limited to a certiorari appeal and would no longer have the option of filing a de novo refund suit.
The Wisconsin Assembly passed a version of the legislation in December 2007, and the Wisconsin Senate is scheduled to take up the legislation early in 2008. As currently drafted, the legislation would take effect for assessments beginning in 2008.