By Tim Kowols
Sturgeon Bay City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout is preparing for a second round of litigation over the assessment of the Wal-Mart property. The details are still being finalized on a settlement between the city and Wal-Mart to lower the property’s tax bill by employing what is commonly known as the “dark store theory.” Businesses across the state have successfully argued their property taxes be lowered based on the assessment of similar, but shuttered buildings. Van Lieshout says even with this agreement, there is still work to be done.
After Wal-Mart is refunded for overpaying on their taxes, Van Lieshout says the city will have to seek reimbursement from other taxing entities to help pay for its services. In the last statewide election, voters from 17 counties and six municipalities supported closing the “dark store loophole” in advisory referendums.