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SHEBOYGAN - The common council voted unanimously Monday to add an advisory referendum that will appear on the April ballot, asking Sheboygan residents if the Wisconsin legislature should consider passing legislation to close....
WAUWATOSA, Wis. — With astonishing range and rapidity, big-box retailers and corporate giants are using an aggressive legal tactic to shrink their property tax bills, a strategy that is costing local governments and school districts around the country....
Krause said wider application... would have a devastating impact on her community,,, an across-the-board application of dark store...would result in a 17% tax shift to the residential sector in Wauwatosa, costing the ave homeowner $1,100 more.
On average, 78.65% voters answered “yes” to ballot questions asking if the loophole should be closed. The rejection vote was far bigger in individual places. In Dane County, 91.79% of voters called for ending the loophole, as did... 87.88% in Glendale.
“(S)uggesting is that we use these dark stores as comparables to their ongoing stores, even though the bundle of rights is different,” Winter says. But “to use that as a comparable, without an adjustment, for the value of an ongoing operation, doesn’t .."
A guest (Jerry Deschane) from the League of Wisconsin Municipalities joined us on Nov. 13 to discuss the results to dark store referenda questions and talk about what he hopes is next on this issue.
Voters in 23 Wisconsin municipalities overwhelmingly backed nonbinding referendums on Tuesday to close the so-called “dark store loophole,” which its detractors say unfairly shifts the property tax burden from large retailers to homeowners.
“It is an important issue to the village...,” Steinbrink said. “It affects small businesses & residential taxpayers. It is actually an easy fix. Without action, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep taxes low and services good.”
Voters in Rock and Walworth counties overwhelmingly passed advisory referendums calling for an end to the dark store legal theory.
The referendums passed with more than 70 percent support in both counties.
"(B)ut it certainly, I think, speaks volumes. ... That's pretty significant when you've got 50,000 voters telling their elected officials that we want this loophole closed," said Outagamie County Board Chairman Jeff Nooyen...
"More than $129,000 in local taxpayer money will go to Lowe's after city leaders settled a lawsuit with the national home improvement chain."
"Antaramian said if the loophole is not closed it will amount to a $350 increase on an average city home.
This comes as residential taxpayers’ share of the state’s overall property tax pie has increased to 67 percent..."
The report showed of the 11 municipalities studied, value losses could range from 4 to 14% - resulting in a $187 million shift to other taxpayers. In Beloit, multiple businesses have disputed their property tax assessments, including the Staples...."
“Everyday the state Legislature does not act to close these loopholes, taxes are increasing for all homeowners, small businesses and other property owners in Kenosha and the rest of the state,” Kenosha Ald. Dan Prozanski
Stoner is the Village of Somers president and said the issue of the "dark store loophole" needs to be dealt with quickly. "Just for the year 2017 for Sam's Club, we have to give back $13,795 and to Walmart, we have to give back $25,305 and that's just...
Manawa is a quaint city in Waupaca County with roughly 1,300 people who found out the hard way the damage the dark store loophole can do in communities.
Last year, TreeHouse Foods successfully argued in mitigation that the value of a food processing...
The group implored candidates for governor to be a leader on closing the tax law loophole.
"The less in taxes that commercial properties have to pay the more everyone else has to pay and that's primarily homeowners and businesses," explained Witynski.
"The one thing that gets lost in talking about the details is the reason local governments are concerned," said Curt Witynski, deputy director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. "They're concerned about the fairness of the property-tax system."
"Our residents should not be having to incur this cost for an unfair tax shift," said Kathy Ehley, mayor of Wauwatosa. The leaders drafted a letter seeking relief from the so-called "dark store"/ "Walgreens loopholes"....
The effect of these loopholes is that property tax revenues from these large companies and corporations go down, and the tax burden paying for essential services like police and fire is shifted to homeowners and small business owners.
Whenever big box retailers such as Walmart use the dark store loophole to avoid paying higher taxes, residents and small businesses pay the price, which has caused most state municipalities to urge lawmakers to stop the practice.
Homeowners in Wisconsin already pay 70% of property taxes statewide. And Douglas County want to make sure that share doesn't grow. But a loophole in Wisconsin law is helping big box and chain stores use tax avoidance strategies that shift the burden....
What’s known as the dark store loophole unfairly shifts the tax burden from big box stores to homeowners and small businesses La Crosse’s elected officials said Monday during a town hall event with the area’s state representatives.
MONROE — A well-known corporation has filed a lawsuit against the city to recover funds it claims the city took illegitimately through property taxes.
For example, McHugh said the Walgreens store at 6125 Durand Ave. sold for roughly $6.3 million but, “When they appealed their assessment, they asked that it be lowered to $1.75 million.
The battle over so-called “dark stores” is creeping into more Wisconsin communities like Sturgeon Bay. According to the Wis Policy Forum, 79 Wisconsin communities had appeals of their property taxes filed against them in 2017....
“Dark store” appeals are made by businesses – often retailers – seeking to lower their property tax assessments and overall tax bill. Our survey suggests they may be rising in Wisconsin.
Jerry Deschane, executive director of the League, said he hoped the latest round of appeals by large retailers would get lawmakers' attention. "This thing is a snowball and the more it's allowed to run downhill, the bigger it's going to get," he said.
Shifting the tax burden: If plaintiffs win lawsuits over property tax assessments, taxpayers could see $561K on their tabTaxpayers could be on the hook for $561,183 if plaintiffs in 11 civil lawsuits challenging property tax assessments filed . . . .
A dispute between Walmart and Monona officials over the value of the business’ property has been settled, with a few elected officials saying it’s the best the city could hope for in the short term.
The city of Oshkosh is taking a stand to address a disturbing trend in property valuation. This trend is shifting the bur-den of property taxes from big-box retail stores to homes and small businesses. The term you may be familiar with is “dark store.”
I am a developer in the city of Janesville and have worked on numerous projects over the last 25 years including the Kmart/Festival redevelopment, Oasis/Menards redevelopment, Castle Metals, Upper Lakes Foods, IPM Foods and ANGI Energy Systems . . . .
Local voters in Tuesday's primary election stood solidly behind West Allis officials in wanting the state legislature to close the so-called dark store loophole that has resulted in big-box stores getting drastic reductions in their property tax . . . .
Ten additional civil lawsuits — seeking more than $458,000 in property tax refunds — have been filed against the city of Eau Claire. Six of those have been filed by KT Real Estate Holdings . . . concerning six Kwik Trip locations; two by Menard Inc. . .
The city of Marshfield may join the Dark Store tax loophole campaign, as Wisconsin municipalities band together against some “big box” retailers.
The loophole involves active retail stores being taxed as if they were . . . .
The property tax bill of an average Janesville home could increase by more than $26 if pending property assessment appeals against the city are successful. Janesville is involved in 11 pending appeals from local businesses. They are seeking a . . . .
City Communicates OnFocus – The Finance, Budget and Personnel Committee approved making a $2,500 donation to the League of Wisconsin Municipalities to help in their fight against the Dark Store Loophole currently used in Wisconsin.“Wal-Mart and . . . .
Roundy's has filed a lawsuit against the village, claiming the assessed value of the Metro Market is "excessive." The village has assessed the two-story grocery store at $25.3 million, but the complaint filed by Roundy's claims the grocery store . . . .
In an editorial published August 5, 2018, the Janesville Gazette criticized the City for advocating for the state to put an end to the “dark store” property assessment loophole which shifts the property tax burden from large corporations . . . .
Monona city officials appear to have temporarily settled a pair of lawsuits by Walmart challenging its property assessment, but that doesn’t mean the city is giving up on the broader issue. Alders on Monday will consider a resolution to donate. . . .
The city of Sturgeon Bay and Wal-Mart will head to mediation this fall to discuss the store’s current property assessment. Last September, the Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust filed a suit against the city in Door County Circuit Court . . .
PLEASANT PRAIRIE — The Village Board here has unanimously approved a developer’s agreement for a future corporate campus with a hotel and other services in the LakeView Corporate Park.
Gov. Scott Walker is ready to sign bipartisan legislation to close the “dark stores” loophole that allows big retailers to curtail their tax assessments.He made that clear during his visit to Kenosha for the Kenosha Civic Veterans Parade.
The “dark store” controversy now ranks with the failure to pay for long-term highway construction as the most difficult issues facing the governor and legislators seeking reelection in November.
State Rep. Jimmy Anderson and other Democratic legislators are assuring Dane County Board members and other local officials of their commitment to legislation that would close the “dark store loophole” used by big box retailers to lower their tax. . .
APPLETON - Voters in Outagamie County will get an opportunity to add their voice to the debate over Wisconsin's so-called dark store tax loopholes.
The County Board voted unanimously Tuesday to hold an advisory referendum on the issue . . .
During open session, the Menomonie City Council passed a resolution asking state legislators to approve current legislation that would close property law loopholes used by some national chain stores to substantially reduce the property taxes they pay.
A last-ditch bid in the state Assembly to address efforts by large retailers to lower their property-tax assessments, which critics say shifts tax costs to homeowners, has collapsed, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said early Friday.
Wal-mart is contesting the property assessment of its Minocqua store, contending the property is worth much less and thus it’s due a refund of thousands of dollars it paid in property taxes.
The City Council may take action Monday on a resolution that would ask the state Legislature to act on ending “dark store” strategies in the city and state.As defined by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, “dark store theory” is . . . .
Would GOP legislators rather raise property taxes for others than lose political donations?Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) declared that legislation to reign in . . . .
The city of Columbus joined leaders across Wisconsin in designating Dec. 11 as “Dark Store Day” to draw attention to legislation designed to close the dark store loophole. As big box retail chains and single tenant commercial properties use these. . .
Appleton Post-Crescent Large chain-store retailers are trying to cut their property assessments by more than $700 million across Wisconsin — potentially forcing other taxpayers to pay more to fund local public services, a USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin...
Superior Mayor Jim Paine joined local leaders across Wisconsin to designate Dec. 11 as Dark Store Day. The goal was to call attention to legislation designed to close the "dark store loophole," property tax avoidance tactics that aren't available to. . .
Provisions in a newly proposed bill could halt the "Dark Store Strategy" in which commercial property owners argue for the same lower tax assessment given to other stores in town that are vacant. At the heart of the issue: Should a big box store . . . .
On Friday morning, October 20, at the Hotel Phillips in downtown Kansas City, word spread among those attending IAAO’s Fall Leadership Days that the Michigan Supreme Court had reached a much-anticipated decision on a big-box/dark store case.
Local municipal leaders supported by the Wisconsin League of Municipalities urged people to contact their state representatives on Monday, Dec. 11, Dark Store Day.Dark Store Day was formed from a growing concern . . . .
It's a tax avoidance strategy by commercial retailers such as Menards, Walgreens, and CVS Who ask to pay property taxes equal to stores that are vacant or boarded up, when in reality, their stores are booming with business.
Local leaders from Oshkosh to Howard gathered in Brown County on Monday to demand state lawmakers change a law that they say shifts property tax burdens from chain retailers to homeowners and small businesses. . . .
Nineteen city and village mayors, including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Monday, December 11th spoke out against so-called "dark store" practices. The mayors called it a tax loophole that allows big box retailers to pay millions less in taxes . . . .
Merrillville Town Council is tightening its purse strings after losing a tax appeal from Meijer totaling almost $2.3 million. "We'll see a salary ordinance with no raises because of this and we may have to lay some people off," Town Manager . . . .
You can join Darla and the 400 other members of the League’s Lobby Team. If you aren't already on the team, sign up is easy. Fill out the form on the League’s website http://bit.ly/LeagueWILobbyTeam or contact Gail ...
We have combined the Local Candidate Campaign Finance Committee Manual and the registration statement in one document. Find it here. Please also note that League Legal Counsel will be providing an updated Elections FAQ in the near future.&nb...
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently held that the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) and regulations promulgated pursuant to that act preempt a City of Weyauwega ordinance prohibiting any train from obstructing, for more than 10 minutes. . . .
Is your municipality prepared to deal with an emergency? Recent disasters in communities across the state, like flooding and explosions, highlight the importance of being prepared to cope with local emergencies.
This article provides a basic overview of municipal publication requirements and addresses common questions that arise with regard to those requirements.
There has been a surge in public awareness of the risks of lead exposure in drinking water. Exposure to lead has been linked to adverse health effects in infants, young children, and pregnant women, and is potentially harmful to adults.
Municipalities frequently interact with state and federal agencies, and they sometimes need courts to review whether an agency decision is arbitrary, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise contrary to law.
The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) files Supreme Court amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the Big Seven national organizations* representing state and local governments. Big CasesIn South Dakota v. Wayfair** the Supreme Court ruled . . .
Can a governing body remove a member who repeatedly fails to show up for meetings? What about a member who always shows up but seems to focus all his or her energy on creating dissent? What about a member who reveals information discussed in closed . . .
At the time they are elected, members of municipal governing bodies and other local elected officers must be resident electors of the municipality. Common council members representing aldermanic districts must not only reside within the city . . .
Several months ago a state legislator called me into his office to discuss a question he had received from a constituent. The constituent had called to complain about the city charging her a special assessment of over $1,000 for sidewalk and curb . . .
Tax increment financing (“TIF”) is a local economic development tool that can be an essential ingredient in making a development project happen. However, financing a development project can expose a municipality and its taxpayers to significant . . .
The Developers bill (2017 AB 770), so called because it was sought by the Wisconsin REALTORS and the Wisconsin Builders Associations and limits municipal powers to regulate development and recover the cost of serving new development, was signed . . . .
The following description of municipally relevant provisions in Act 317, the Landlords' legislation, is lifted with minor changes from a memo prepared by Wisconsin Legislative Council Principal Attorney Scott Grosz. The League appreciates . . .
Each year, spring brings a mix of showers and sunshine. Much like the weather, property taxes provide a healthy foundation for funding local government services. To ensure the effectiveness of this process, fair and equitable taxation is essential.
Despite recent changes made to the room tax law designed to help municipalities receive room taxes from short-term rental properties advertising on Airbnb and other online services, the reality is that little has changed in Wisconsin.
“Click and Collect” describes a practice where consumers order online from a retailer’s website and then pick up their orders at a local store. The use of Click and Collect . . .
Most public records requests are handled by municipal clerks, treasurers, administrators, or department heads, and involve records that are routinely created or kept by municipalities in the normal course of business.
Although agendas are not required by any state law, many governmental bodies, by custom or procedural rule, use them. They serve important practical purposes by providing a structure that facilitates efficient and effective use of meeting time . . . .
After nearly three months of legislative delay, Governor Walker signed the 2017-2018 state budget bill into law as Act 59 on September 21. Like all state budgets, Act 59 is a mixed bag for municipalities, although positive changes slightly . . . .
When is a street a street? Although the question posed by this title may sound like a riddle or the lead-in to a joke, being unable to answer that question is no laughing matter when the outcome is important to those with a stake in the issue.
Local governments are increasingly finding that municipal websites are a cost-effective and efficient way to make information available to the public 24-7 without the direct assistance of government personnel. Not surprisingly . . . .
In State ex rel. Krueger v. Appleton Area School Dist. Bd. Of Educ., 2017 WI 70, the Wisconsin Supreme Court attempted to clarify when a committee constitutes a "governmental body" for purposes of the open meeting law after Krueger, a parent . . . .
This is part 2 of a case law update summarizing cases decided within the last year that affect municipalities but not including U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Part 1 was published in the August issue of The Municipality.
The U.S. Supreme Court decided a major regulatory takings case last week, ending a Wisconsin land-use battle that lasted more than a dozen years. See Murr v. Wisconsin, No. 15-214 (U.S. June 23, 2017). It is not common for a case to jump . . . .
This is Part 1 of a 2-part case law update summarizing Wisconsin appellate and 7th circuit decisions affecting Wisconsin municipalities.
The City of Fitchburg (City) and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities (League) recently won an important Wisconsin Supreme Court case for local government control over municipal zoning, planning, and development.
In the confounding system of property taxes, lower tax rates don’t always translate to lower bills.
If we paid taxes only to our city or town government — or some unified body — ...
BELOIT - Turner High School's civics team, proudly known as the Underdogs, are hoping to spank some of the competition from suburban schools they will compete against in the Wisconsin Newspaper Association's first Wisconsin Civics Games, set for Feb. 2.
Sun Prairie starts 2019 recognized as a Wisconsin Active Together Community to promote active lifestyles and for a pledge to foster health too.
The newly named Wisconsin Active Together Communities, now reaching 1.4 million Wisconsinites . . . .
On Dec. 6, Ellsworth Area Ambulance Service Director Jessi Willenbring was working a 24-hour shift. Working extra or long hours have become frequent for Willenbring as the eight-municipality ambulance service has seen dwindling volunteers . . . .
Foxconn Technology Group has announced the selection of 88 first-round winners of the company’s Smart Cities—Smart Futures competition, an initiative that encourages the sharing of fresh ideas and unconventional thinking for the benefit of Wisconsin.
Longtime village trustee and Hartland public servant Dick Landwehr is not running for re-election after dedicating a lifetime of service to the village. Landwehr, 89, was first elected to the Hartland Village Board in 1962 and . . .
Partnerships between private entities and public institutions can foster developments that would otherwise never get off the ground. Take, for instance, the Pablo Center at the Confluence in Eau Claire — a $60 million, 142,000-square-foot arts . . .
Lawmakers seeking to provide clarity to a longstanding debate over whether owners of barns rented for weddings must obtain liquor licenses won't try to settle the question with legislation.
Foxconn Technology Group received 325 submissions from students, faculty and staff from Wisconsin colleges and universities for the first round of its “Smart Cities-Smart Futures” competition, according to a company announcement.
Local officials in Wisconsin say a Federal Communications Commission order aimed at helping build the next generation of high-speed, wireless internet is a giveaway to telecommunication companies that strips government of local control.
As assistant counsel with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Daniel Olson spent his days providing guidance to local government attorneys. From his office in Madison, Olson took anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 phone calls each year . . . .
Development in Wisconsin’s 600 cities and villages hit $5.6 billion in 2016, marking the largest increase since the Great Recession, according to a recent report from the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. But the benefits of economic development . . .
There are some truly amazing things going on in Wisconsin! There’s exciting growth in community engagement, reimagining of public spaces and our creative economy programs are stronger than ever. Wisconsin is poised to become a cultural magnet . . . .
The city of Sturgeon Bay and Wal-Mart will head to mediation this fall to discuss the store’s current property assessment. Last September, the Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust filed a suit against the city in Door County Circuit Court . . . .
A June 27 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court helped bring Wisconsin police and firefighter unions closer to parity with the state’s other public-sector unions, but a major disparity remains—they still can collectively bargain.
“Your stories are so inspiring.” commented MaryAnn Lippert after listening to reports about arts activity from eight northwest Wisconsin communities. Lippert is the director for the northern region of the Wisconsin Department of Administration.
A state zoning law that some Town of Oconomowoc residents had hoped to use to block construction of a corporate headquarters adjacent to the Lac La Belle golf course has been repealed by the state Legislature. “That section was repealed by . . . .
Some want to grow Wisconsin’s economy by attracting companies that manufacture LCD panels or mine for frac sand, but a new report emphasizes the economic boost that comes from growing the “creative sector.” Arts Wisconsin--in partnership with the League
The League of Wisconsin Municipalities presented Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt with their Champion award at the Fond du Lac City Council this week. Thiesfeldt was recognized for his support of local municipal control on the state level . . .
While the arts are fun and creative, a state arts leader says the arts are also a growing component of an areas economy.
The League of Wisconsin Municipalities and Arts Wisconsin are partnering to make this Creative Economy Week. . . .
Baraboo currently graces a magazine cover as the model of an arts-friendly community. The May issue of The Municipality, published by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, features a photo of the Baraboo High School band performing during the . . . .
Damage in delivery of essential services by local government due to federal and state erosion of local control was the topic of discussion for about 50 participants at the American Legion Taphouse 138 in Viroqua on Tuesday, April 24.
A bill co-authored by 25th Dist. State Sen. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland, would allow municipal officials to serve as election officials. The bill has passed both houses of the Legislature and awaits Gov. Scott Walker’s signature.
Plant the right kinds of trees in your backyard and you could save oodles on your property tax bill, after the state Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday in favor of a Town of Delafield resident.
At first glance, Wisconsin State Assembly Bill 770 (AB 770) looks to be a standard piece of Republican-sponsored legislation meant to clear away regulations on new housing projects. The legislation reads almost like a developer’s wish list.
MENOMONIE — The City Council may take action Monday on a resolution that would ask the state Legislature to act on ending “dark store” strategies in the city and state.
As defined by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, “dark store theory” is . . . .
Workers with the City of Green Bay are hearing a lot of complaints about rats on the west side of town. Another hire is needed to address the growing rodent problem, says Bill Paape, the city's neighborhood development manager. . . .
Communities across Wisconsin have been struggling to fund much needed infrastructure repair as state lawmakers allocate less and less of the state budget for roads, according to the state DOT. This has led many small communities to . . . .
As a new landlord-tenant bill aimed at decreasing costs for landlords makes its way through the Wisconsin Legislature, advocates for domestic abuse victims are concerned with many of the bill’s provisions.
Today, the State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 85, authored by Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison), Representative Ed Brooks (R- Reedsburg), and Senator Janet Bewley (D-Ashland), to allow municipal officials to serve as election officials.
Business and labor clashed Wednesday over a Republican bill that would prevent local governments in Wisconsin from enacting a variety of ordinances pertaining to employment matters, including limits on working hours, overtime, benefits, and . . .
Erin Foley says she’s history. Doug Klapper, chairman of the city of Portage’s Historic Preservation Commission, says he’ll believe it when he sees a resignation letter from Foley, who says she’s been on the commission since 2008.
It’s been a long fight for Bay City resident David Meixner, and he is tired. But he refuses to give up in the battle to save what he says is his land from eminent domain proceedings.
A Wisconsin tax loophole exploited by big box stores could soon be closed if two newly introduced bills get passed into law. Senate Bills 291 and 292 would change the way properties are assessed to prevent businesses from being assessed . . . .
If the Republican lawmakers of Wisconsin have their way, municipalities in the state could lose all their regulatory power, like the ability to conduct systematic building inspections. These possible new bills are being sponsored by. . .
The League of Wisconsin Municipalities opposes plans by Republican state lawmakers to limit the regulatory powers of city governments. The Senate Committee on Insurance, Housing and Trade held a hearing at the Capitol Wednesday. The change would end. . .
While sponsors of Republican legislation argue it would promote affordable housing and create a fair rental housing market, others say it would tilt power more toward landlords and limit municipal powers.
Appleton Post-Crescent -- Large chain-store retailers are trying to cut their property assessments by more than $700 million across Wisconsin — potentially forcing other taxpayers to pay more to fund local public services, a USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin...
Mayors and village presidents from Brown County and the Fox Valley gathered for "Dark Store Day," a day created to raise awareness to the dark store loophole.It's a tax avoidance strategy by commercial retailers such as Menards, Walgreens, and CVS . . .
Local leaders from Oshkosh to Howard gathered in Brown County on Monday to demand state lawmakers change a law that they say shifts property tax burdens from chain retailers to homeowners and small businesses.
It may be a case of semantics, but the Village of Mount Pleasant is playing it safe when it comes to paying the bills related to the Foxconn Technology Group development project. On Dec. 4, the village’s Finance/Legal/License Committee recommended . . .
State Republican lawmakers want to further limit the regulatory powers of Madison and other municipalities, including the ability to do systematic building inspections. Two bills sponsored by Sen. Frank Lasee, R-DePere, and Rep. Rob Brooks . . . .
A lawsuit pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court involves a project in downtown Eau Claire, and its outcome will either reinforce or wipe out local governments’ main tool for financing large developments, including Foxconn Technology Group’s plant.
Wisconsin municipalities know all too well what it means to do more with less, and they have for about the last decade. It all has to do with property tax levy limits.