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August 2014

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Delafield tax rate increase cut two cents

Dredging project removed from budget

City of Delafield - Higher-than-anticipated revenues from the state has resulted in a 2013 city budget that includes lower-than-anticipated increases in tax levy and rate.

The Common Council on Monday night, Nov. 19, approved an approximately $12 million dollar budget that city officials revised after they learned the city would receive about $38,000 more in state aid for road maintenance than had been expected.

The council approved City Administrator Tom Hafner's proposal that about $10,700 of the money be shifted to the general fund to be used on various park projects that had been included in the capitalbudget. Paying for the park projects with general fund revenues rather than borrowing the money will reduce the amount of money the city will have to pay in the future for debt service, according to Hafner.

The additional revenues from the state were also used to help increase funds for library books and pay higher city insurance rates, according to city officials.

The remaining approximately $24,000 in state funds was applied to the general fund to reduce the overall tax levy from about $5.82 million to about $5.8 million.

The approximately $24,000 dollar reduction in the levy results in a 2-cent reduction in the tax rate, according to Finance Director Marie Williams.

The tax levy is the amount of real estate tax revenues the city intends to collect in 2013. The tax rate is the amount individual property owners will contribute to the levy based on the property owner's assessed valuation.

The 2013 budget approved by the council results in a tax rate of $4.33 per $1,000 assessed valuation, which is 2 cents higher than 2012 rate of $4.31 per $1,000 assessed valuation and 2 cents lower than the $4.35 rate originally proposed in the budget.

The final budget includes general operating expenses of about $5.3 million, compared to $5.34 million in 2012.

Another approximately $2.2 million is proposed for utilities, but most of those expenses are paid for through user fees and charges.

There is another $1.9 million devoted to paying off debt.

The capital projects budget was slashed Monday night from $2.6 million to approximately $1.6 million. The reductions have no effect on the tax levy and rate for 2013 because the capital projects are paid for by borrowing money paid off in future years.

The council cut in half - from $900,000 to $450,000 - funds for the proposed widening and resurfacing of Milwaukee Street.

The council also cut out of the capital projects budget $600,000 proposed to be the city's share of a Lake Nagawicka dredging project. Opponents of the project argued that voters have twice rejected the idea of city funds being used to dredge the lake.

Proponents argued this proposal was different from past referendum issues because the city would be sharing the cost of the project with lake property owners.

The property owners want to develop a catch basin near the Bark River inlet to the lake to reduce siltation from the river to the lake. The catch basin, they argue, will help protect the money the property owners plan to invest in dredging the lake near their lakefronts.

The Lake Welfare Committee has recommended the city share in the cost of the project because, according to the committee, the catch basin would benefit the city and all of its lake residents.

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