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Peshtigo residents voice frustrations over school tax bill hike

Posted at 12:06 AM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 01:32:29-05

PESHTIGO (NBC 26) — Residents in Peshtigo are expressing frustrations and complaints that part of their property tax bills are much higher than what they expected.

In November, voters overwhelmingly approved a nearly $40 million referendum for the Peshtigo School District.

The money is being used for renovations at the middle and high school.

Voters were told the school district's tax rate would increase by 29 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, or $29 per $100,000.

The district's mill rate is currently $7.59 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

"And I think what that did is that changed a lot of people's minds," Peshtigo resident Stan Nogalski said.

But residents, like Nogalski, are wondering why their school tax bill spiked.

"It turned out that my taxes were 10 times more on the valuation," Nogalski said. "This can't be right. When I sat down and did the math, it didn't work out to what I had been told to expect by the school district."

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Dozens of Peshtigo residents attended Wednesday's school board meeting voicing their concerns and frustrations after their school tax bills significantly increased.

Dozens of citizens attended Peshtigo's school board meeting Wednesday.

Several publicly spoke wanting their questions and concerns answered.

"I'd like to have everybody raise their hand from who felt they were misled," a Peshtigo resident said.

"Peshtigo School District taxpayers, what did you expect would happen to your taxes? You voted in a $40 million expenditure during a financial crisis, the likes of which I've never seen in my lifetime," a Town of Grover resident said.

"Who knows if there's ever going to be another tax increase? And I just cannot handle this," another Peshtigo resident said.

After the board closed the floor, Superintendent Patrick Rau led a presentation called "Property Tax 101."

"Some of the objectives that we came up with is that we want to make sure our communications are clear and concise," Rau said during the presentation.

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Rau revealed that people's property values went up.

The Town of Peshtigo's total fair market value spiked by $40 million.

Rau later showed an example of the school tax bill portion, calculating and comparing the last two years, showing just how much property values jumped.

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The superintendent's presentation lasted roughly a half hour. Following the presentation, the crowd remained quiet and many of the people in attendance left. After the school board meeting adjourned, the superintendent declined for comment on-camera.