JANESVILLE — Janesville City Council held a public hearing concerning a tax dispute for a parcel of 70.4 acres of land on the west end of town.
Tim Burke represented his family and the land acreage that they are requesting be removed from industrial taxes.
“It’s never been used for industrial so we feel that it should never be taxed at that,” Burke said.
The City Council voted to table the request after much discussion due to more research needing to be done.
They are looking to change the tax rates because it is being used as farmland currently and has always been used to farm on. The industrial tax rate is about double what the township rate is.
Burke mentioned that the family is looking to sell the land in the future and have even had inquiries on it. So far all of the inquiries have been farmers looking to continue to farm the land, though he was not against selling it to people to develop.
“My concern is the precedent that you would set tonight by essentially detaching it from the city limits,” City Attorney Jason Moran said. “I mean it’s not a formal detachment, but for tax purposes you’re essentially detaching it. You would be very hard pressed to do the same if someone with a similar situation came in.”
He went on to say that in order to change the tax information on this land it would take a lot of work.
Janesville would have to do a special tax district so the city could tax the bond levy differently than the general levy, but according to Moran that is where it would get complicated. Creating the tax levy rate for the 70.4 acres would be difficult to set due to its size.
After hearing what the council thought of changing taxes on the land to township, he offered rezoning the land to residential.
If Burke his family decide they want to rezone the land to residential they would have to put in a rezone request and start the process over.
Keeping the land at industrial tax rates would hurt Burke and the family when they are trying to sell the land because it is more expensive to farm and that it should be agriculture according to Chuck Wingert with Wingert Realty and Land services of Mankato.
“I definitely think there’s a need to pull it out of industrial zoning, but I think there is a lot of other options that we could potentially look at before making a definitive plan,” Councilor Melissa Kopachek said.
The council chose to table the final decision until further research could be done by the city staff. The public hearing was motioned to be re-convened when the research was complete so the councilors could continue the conversation without restarting the public hearing process.