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September 2014

21

Decline in property values mean jump in village tax rate

Levy reduced by 1% through fire protection savings

Village of Oconomowoc Lake - Next year's village budget dips slightly. According to Village Administrator Don Wiemer, the 2013 budget of $1,428,778 is 1.13-percent less than 2012's budget of $1,445,166. However, the village tax rate will increase due to a drop in property values.

"The largest adjustment to the budget for 2013 was for our police officers who were on a two-year pay freeze. 2013 reflects raises and two of the officers also received step raises and increased health care and retirement costs for the police department," Wiemer explained.

"Thankfully that was offset by savings in fire protection costs gained through consolidation of services with Okauchee Fire Department ," he added.

The proposed tax rate in the village jumped from $3.09 per $1,000 of assessed value last year to $3.89 per $1,000, representing a 25.54-percent increase.

"The village was reassessed in 2012 which resulted in a reduction in property values of 16 percent over 2011. When your tax base decreases, the rate per $1,000 will increase. It's a sliding scale," Wiemer said.

The proposed levy is $1,273,068 up from $1,209,473 in 2012.

"Another way of looking at this is to use last year's property values ($390,799,000) with the proposed 2013 tax levy of $1,273,068, the rate per thousand is $3.26. The $3.26 rate is an increase of 5.26 percent over last year's rate of $3.09," Wiemer noted.

The village administrator explained the causes behind the proposed 5.26-percent increase.

"Revenues, excluding the tax levy, decreased by .47 percent and expenditures decreased just over 1 percent. Our end-of-year transfers to the designated fund increased by 2.58 percent. This is needed to have an adequate reserve for major expenditures such as large trucks, road and bridge repair," Wiemer said.

In 2012, the village had a $43,000 deficit that it is hoping to wipe out in the upcoming year.

"That deficit is still there and the 2013 budget will eliminate that deficit, which is 3.56 percent of the levy increase. These are the variables generating the 5.26 percent increase. We hope that this will be offset by a lower share of shared taxes based on our decrease in assessed value," he added.

The Village Board approved the 2013 budget after a public hearing on Monday.

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