WAUKESHA — Menards Inc. has reached a $14 million
settlement with Waukesha after bringing a lawsuit
against the city for a lower tax assessment based on the
“dark store theory.”
Waukesha is facing similar challenges from Farm & Fleet
and Target under the same argument that those stores
should be assessed the same as vacant stores with the
same footprint. Menards had said the city's assessment
of $15.9 million for 2016 and 2017 was too high and
asked to be assessed at $8 million.
settlement was reached late last month for $14 million,
which allows Menards to recover a $14,120 refund for
2016 property taxes within 30 days.
that refund, Waukesha is responsible to pay just over
half, which will come out of funds set aside for these
situations. The rest will be refunded by Waukesha County
and school districts, said Mayor Shawn Reilly.
Reilly said the city signed a stipulation agreement on
Wednesday that will be sent to Waukesha County Circuit
Court to dismiss the lawsuit.
Wisconsin's state Assembly is weighing two bills that
would curtail property tax shifts that have become
common across the state and nation.
Reilly has testified before an Assembly committee that
was taking a first look at the bills several months ago.
He said the bills are needed to end “unfair and ongoing”
property tax shifts that are placing higher burdens on
homeowners while saving big box retailers money. City
Administrator Kevin Lahner traveled to the state Capitol
recently to present a similar argument.
Other stores that have benefited from the dark store
theory in Waukesha in the past are Walmart, Target,
Walgreens and Woodman’s.