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Opinion: Greenfield Needs More Amy Rowells, Milwaukee Animal Rescue Centers

The center's director intends to voluntarily make payments to the city in lieu of taxes.

The Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center, , is already proving itself a good addition to Greenfield.

Just a few short weeks ago, in Greendale to 5101 W. Loomis Rd. in Greenfield (Or is it 5217 S. 51st Street? More on that later). On Dec. 23, the center’s director, Amy Rowell, closed on the property and the transition started taking place.

Late last week, however, the city realized it granted the center its approval without ever talking to Rowell about the city’s voluntary Payment In Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT, ordinance. The center is a non-profit animal welfare charity, and as such, is eligible for a property tax exemption.

The PILOT program, however, is for non-profit organizations to help the city recover the city portion of the property taxes. The center sits on two parcels of land with a 2011 assessed total value of $288,300. In Rowell and the center’s case, the amount of property tax the city is missing out on, based on 2011’s tax rate, would equate to nearly $2,100 in 2012.

The voluntary PILOT ordinance was adopted in 2006, and MARC will become just the third non-profit to participate, following in the footsteps of and Our Lady of Angels, a memory care facility for retired nuns on the property. Since the program is completely voluntary, Rowell could have said, “Too bad, Greenfield.”

But Rowell didn't. In an email to the city’s Community Development Manager Chuck Erickson dated Dec. 27, Rowell said, “We are always striving to be very responsible with our limited funds, yet we do want to contribute to our local community; we find the PILOT program to be an excellent compromise.”

Great non-profit organization with a solid track record moves into Greenfield and enters the PILOT program. Win-win for the city.

Now, back to that address snafu. The Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center’s address will in fact be 5217 S. 51st Street instead of 5101 W. Loomis Rd., the address the building's previous owner, Custom Design Associates, used. Residents and businesses on that particular stretch of Loomis Road, while in Greenfield, have U.S. Postal Service mailing addresses that say “Greendale.”

In an effort to avoid any unnecessary confusion for folks trying to contact or find the center, the city made the switch, per Rowell’s request, to a 51st Street address, giving it a USPS Greenfield mailing address.

Dustin Block January 04, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Wow, what a kind move!
Alyssa Harvey January 12, 2012 at 12:08 AM
I live close and will definately volunteer my time for the cause! I can't wait! The building is not being used currently and looks it I must say unfortunately! This is a great rescue site and is always clean and neat! YAY

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