Letter by Nancy Utesch, Kewaunee
CAFOs, concentrated animal feeding operations, continue to proliferate throughout beautiful Wisconsin resulting in citizenry throughout the state left to suffer the resulting plunging values on what is, for most, their greatest asset—their home.
It is imperative that all Wisconsin’s citizenry left disenfranchised by this agribusiness model in their neighborhood realize that there is recourse for the loss of value of their homes. In November 2017, the Department of Revenue determined that Kewaunee residents living within a mile of a confined animal feeding operation, and suffering the well-known impacts, had lost 8 percent of their entire assessed home value, while homes within a quarter-mile radius were reduced by 13 percent.
Each case handled by the Department of Revenue is unique, and if one’s homestead has tainted water caused by the operation or more egregious impacts, reductions may prove greater.
Wisconsinites who are impacted by CAFOs should understand that there is recourse and should contact their assessors during the open book period to discuss getting their property value assessment reduced.
If the assessor does not reduce your assessment, homeowners can request a board of review from your town. If the town declines your property tax reduction, you can than appeal to the Department of Revenue, as was done in Kewaunee County.
CAFOs, and their expansions, considerably change the neighborhood – and the desirability to dwell in such a location. Taxpayers should not be left to foot the bill on a home whose value has depreciated greatly due to CAFO proximity.