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Dunn County Government Center

Built in 1960, the Dunn County Government Center, which currently houses the county's administrative services and board meeting room as well as Menomonie City Hall, will be sporting a "For Sale" sign.

Two corporations are suing the city of Menomonie over 2018 property taxes. Both are accusing the city of over-assessing their Menomonie facilities.

In lawsuits filed in Dunn County Court, Walmart Stores, Inc. of Arkansas and Andersen Distribution, Inc. of Minnesota argue the city should reimburse them for excess property taxes paid.

Attorneys for Walmart filed a lawsuit Oct. 23. The city assessed Walmart’s value at $35.5 million; the assessment should have been no more than $25 million, the lawsuit claims.

“The 2018 assessment of the property was excessive. As a result, the tax imposed on the property for 2018 was excessive,” according to the lawsuit.

Two days later, attorneys for Andersen filed a second, similar lawsuit in Dunn County Court.

The city over-assessed Andersen’s Consolidation Center, 5929 Packer Dr. NE, which it leases from a holding company, by $4.4 million, the second lawsuit claims. The city assessed the facility at $21.4 million — instead of $17 million.

According to the lawsuit: “The fair market value of the property on the assessment date was no greater than $17 (million), including land and improvements.”

Both corporations are asking for the city to reimburse the overpaid 2018 taxes, plus interest.

No court dates have been set in either lawsuit as of Monday, according to court records.

It isn’t the first time the two corporations have clashed with the city over property taxes. The Menomonie City Council denied two excessive assessment claims from Walmart and Andersen in February.

In those claims, Andersen asked for a tax refund of roughly $110,000 plus interest. Walmart asked for a refund of $31,000.

Recent history

In February, City Administrator Lowell Prange said the claims from Walmart and Andersen are the largest of its kind the city has faced.

Also in February, the city council approved a resolution on “Dark Store” legislation, which would prohibit big-box stores and large commercial properties from using a loophole to make such property tax claims.

According to the resolution: “Some national chain stores ... argue that the assessed value of a new, thriving store should be based on comparing their buildings to vacant or abandoned stores from a different market segment.”

Those claims put a “disproportionate burden of property taxes on homeowners that will worsen unless legislators take action to close loopholes in property tax law,” according to the resolution.

Walmart is located at 180 Cedar Falls Rd, Menomonie. Andersen Corporation is located at 201 Look Out Rd., Menomonie.

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Dunn County News editor

Sarah Seifert edits and reports for the Dunn County News. Contact her with tips or story ideas at 715-450-1557 or at editor@dunnconnect.com.

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