Black Creek man loses land assessment appeal

File photo.
File photo.

MADISON – A Black Creek man fighting the way his land was assessed has lost his appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Frank Sausen didn’t challenge the assessment that his 10-acre property was worth $27,500 but was upset that it was classified as “productive forest land” instead of “undeveloped land.”

Lands designated as productive forest land are assessed at full value, but undeveloped land is only taxed at a 50% rate.

An Outagamie County judge upheld the assessment, as did the appeals court. In its decision Wednesday, the Supreme Court did the same.

“The burden fell on the taxpayer to show that the board erred and that the property was undeveloped land and not “productive forest land.”  The taxpayer failed to submit evidence that the property is not capable of producing commercial forest products or that the property failed to qualify as low-grade woods. The taxpayer relied entirely on the two maps to show that the property was “undeveloped land.”  The maps supported none of the taxpayer’s contentions,” the court wrote. “We conclude that the board’s determination is supported by a reasonable view of the evidence.  The taxpayer here failed to meet his burden to present evidence justifying the board’s overturning the assessment.  In light of all relevant evidence that the board received, the board could reasonably conclude that the taxpayer did not demonstrate that the classification was incorrect and that the assessment should be lowered.”

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