3-14-17 fdl city officials concerned about “dark store” tax loophole

Fond du Lac is one of a growing number of municipalities across the state losing millions each year as big box stores appeal their assessed values to pay lower property taxes.   Fond du Lac city manager Joe Moore says the stores claim their assessed values are too high, using a strategy called the “dark store theory.”  They want assessors to value their business the same as a closed or dark store.  “Its picked up steam and I think now there’s real momentum in the commercial property area that has gained a lot of interest from a lot of different companies,”   Moore told WFDL news.  Moore says in Fond du Lac Menards wants its assessed value reduced nearly in half.   “Currently Menards would like to see its property assessment reduced from a little over $9 million to a little over $5 million,”  Moore said.  Moore says the problem is when municipalities lower values there will be a shift in taxes to homeowners.   “If that four million dollar reduction were to come to pass, that $4 million is shared by everybody else who owns property in the city.”    The Fond du Lac city council last week approved a resolution supporting state legislation to close the tax loophole.