Taxpayers to see 62-cent increase in mill rate
By Bert Lehman
Property owners in the city of Clintonville will see their property taxes increase 62 cents per $1,000 of equalized value.
The Clintonville City Council approved the property tax increase at a special council meeting Monday, Nov. 21 when it approved the proposed 2017 city budget. The budget passed by an 8-1-1 vote. Alderwoman Julie Stumbris voted no, while newly appointed District 2 Alderwoman Tammy Streyhardt abstained.
Clintonville Fire Department pay increase in the budget was voted on separately and passed 8-0-2. Streyhardt and Alderman Mark Doornink abstained from that vote.
For city purposes only, the increase will equate to an increase of $49.47 for an $80,000 assessed value home. A summary and analysis of the budget prepared by Clintonville City Administrator Chuck Kell stated the main reason for the increase, when the tax levy increased only $3,790, is the fact the city lost more than $9 million in assessed value of the community over the past year.
“The majority of this decline occurred in the value of residential property in the city,” Kell stated in the analysis. “This second year of declining property values in the city has put a significant stress on the city to continue providing quality services the public demands while trying to maintain a reasonable level of taxes for the citizens of the community.”
The budget includes a 1 percent wage increase in 2017 for all non-represented city employees. Those in the Clintonville Professional Police Association will receive a salary increase of 2.5 percent effective Dec. 24, as their union contract specifies.
No new employee hires or positions are authorized for 2017.
The past two budgets included use of undesignated fund balance to balance the budget. Through savings throughout the year, no undesignated fund balance was actually used each of the last two years. The 2017 budget does not use undesignated fund balance to balance the budget.
At the end of 2015, the city’s undesignated fund balance was a little over $1.4 million, or 38 percent of the city’s annual expenditure budget. The city’s adopted fiscal policies require a minimum undesignated fund balance of 25 percent of the annual expenditure budget.
According to the summary and analysis, the 2017 budget for debt service is a little more than $1.2 million. No new debt is scheduled to be added in 2017. USDA revenue debt will be added in the fourth quarter of 2017 to pay off interim debt financing that was put into place in 2015 to fund the construction of the city’s new wastewater treatment plant.
Kell stated in the summary and analysis that the city needs to seek new revenue sources.
“It is resoundingly clear that the city of Clintonville is going to need to develop and implement new sources of revenue that can be counted upon to support the city’s budget for 2018 and future years,” Kell said in the summary and analysis. “The city Finance and Insurance Committee has started discussion and study of some of these possible funding alternatives. Study only, however, won’t address the critical impending need the city has for additional revenue infusion into the city’s budget and whatever proposals the Finance Committee and Common Council decide to propose for implementation need to be developed as soon as possible and vetted with the public so the new revenues are substantially available for the city for their use in preparation of the city’s 2018 budget.”
Kell concluded the summary and analysis by thanking the Finance Committee for its positive attitude when working on the budget proposals.
“They evaluated a number of options and alternatives for how the city could meet its expenditure needs in 2017 and have forwarded the budget proposal that they felt best meets the needs of the city and complies with the limitations that the city faced and must comply with,” Kell said.