Proposed Merton levy, tax rate show little change
Town property owners will see their tax bills rise next year, but that increase will be slight, with most homeowners paying only a few dollars more than they paid last year.
The proposed tax rate for next year's tax bills is $1.90 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, an increase of 1 cent over this year's rate of $1.89 per thousand. That means a homeowner with a property assessed at $200,000 would pay $380 on the 2012 tax bill vs. the $378 paid this year.
The proposed total tax levy would increase by about 1 percent, or $24,000, to about $2.75 million.
The total budget amount for 2013 would be about $3.54 million, a drop of about $589,000 from last year's total budget of about $4.13 million. General government spending would be $505,699 in 2013, a slight decrease from the estimated 2012 general government spending of $508,885.
Most areas of the town's proposed 2013 budget show little change from last year. On the revenue side, the amount of shared revenue the town will receive from the state will remain essentially unchanged from the amount received this year. This is good news for the town, which saw shared revenues decline by $33,000 from 2011 to 2012. Highway transportation aid from the state will increase by $13,000, to $228,302.
However, interest income will be down significantly next year due to low interest rates.
On the spending side, 2013 will see a significant decrease in the amount spent on road projects. The only big project planned for next year is the repaving of a three-quarter-mile stretch of Rybeck Road, slated to cost $184,000. In 2012, the town spent $640,000 on the repaving of Dorn Road. The Highway Department is also planning to spend $150,000 to replace a 12-year-old plow truck.
Many other budget line items are rising slightly to accommodate expected price increases, like theadditional $5,000 budgeted for fuel and oil for the highway department.
In August, the town combined and refinanced existing debt, which resulted in a lowering of interest rates from 4.5-5.25 percent to 2.5 percent. The refinancing will save the town $40,000 over the next five years, said Town Clerk Susan Oman.
Many town employees, including appointed, clerical, custodial, transfer station and highway department, will receive 3-percent raises in 2013. Those employees will also receive a stipend in 2013 to help offset the amount they are now required to contribute toward their health insurance premiums, which previously had been paid entirely by the town. Many of those employees are also now required to contribute to the Wisconsin Retirement System, another significant change from years past.
The proposed budget was presented at the annual town meeting on Nov. 26. The Town Board will likely vote on the budget at its Dec. 10 meeting.
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