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Tuesday

April 2014

22

New state law presents funding challenge

Town of Lisbon - Town residents will be asked at next week's annual meeting to approve a proposed tax levy of $3.4 million that results in an increase to the tax rate of 3 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation for 2013.

The annual budget meeting is at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, at Hamilton High School.

Meanwhile, town officials are emphasizing that the financial challenges they face are the result of a new state law and not because of the town's fiscal condition.

"We are not broke. We have sufficient reserves. We can spend money on capital projects. The difficulty is raising revenues for day-to-day operating expenses," explained Town Chairman Matt Gehrke.

For example, Gehrke explained, the town cannot contract for a Waukesha County Sheriff's Department deputy to work a third shift because it costs about $200,000 for the equipment, administrative support and salary and benefits for the deputy.

Spending the $200,000 would require a tax levy higher than the levy limit imposed by the state. The only alternative for the town would be a referendum permitting the town to spend above the limit, according to Gehrke.

The state imposed levy limit is linked to new construction growth in the community. New construction growth represents about a 0.75-percent growth increase, according to Town Administrator Jeff Musche.

The tax levy represents the total amount of real estate tax revenues the town proposes to raise. The tax rate represents the individual homeowner's share of the levy.

State law also requires that town residents approve the tax levy, highway expenditures, and establish salaries for elected officials.

If the levy and highway expenditures are approved at the annual meeting, the Town Board is expected to adopt a $6.3 million town budget for 2013.

The budget includes a 2.5-percent pay increase for most town employees and an increase in employee contributions to health insurance from 10 percent to between 15 and 20 percent, depending on insurance coverage, according to town officials.

By the numbers

2013 proposed general operation fund: $4,270,223

2012 operating fund: $4,288,018

Percent change: -0.41 percent

2013 tax levy: $3,423,906

2012 tax levy: $3,364,773

Percent change: 1.74 percent

2013 tax rate: $2.99 per $1,000 of assessed value

2012 tax rate: $2.96 per $1,000 of assessed value

Percent change: 1.01 percent

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