Last week, the City of Milwaukee sent property owners their annual notice of assessment. The City will use this assessment (or valuation) as the basis to calculate your property tax in 2016.

City property owners have the right to challenge the assessment of their property value.

However, the City makes it difficult to by begin a challenge – literally forcing citizens go downtown to City Hall to find the assessor’s office to obtain a printed form to object to the assessment. See the City’s instructions on how to obtain an objection form here.


Certainly creating a cost (time and parking) to obtain an objection form cuts down the number of objections made. We recognize the disincentives created by the City help its balance sheet – but doesn’t it help “those in the know” like large landlords, developers and speculators, at the expense of average working-class property owners?

In 2016, we should demand our governments to be more open, transparent and efficient.

We had posted the form here. However, since the original posting of this piece, we’ve learned that the assessor’s office assigns every objection form a tracking number. It’s unclear why the office cannot assign a tracking number to every submitted objection form. It seems that this would remove an unnecessary step. But again, perhaps the creation of the extra step is in itself a strategy to reduce the number of objections made.