Germantown levy increases, tax rate stays steady
Two TIF closures, growth, boost levy 4.88 percent
Germantown — The 2014 village budget proposal calls for a 4.88 percent increase to the levy, but the tax rate is anticipated to stay stable.
The $11.07 million levy — up $515,025 over last year — supports a $14.66 million general fund budget.
A higher assessment ratio and the closure of two tax incremental finance districts are boosting the village's levy, but the tax rate is projected to be fairly fixed in 2014, Village Manager Dave Schornack said.
Changes to the tax rate, if any, will be nominal and are anticipated to rise or fall by a few cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The tax rate for 2013 was $4.65. Depending on the final assessed value from the state, the tax rate could fall between $4.64 and $4.68 per $1,000, Finance Director Kim Rath said.
More revenue due to TIFs
The closures of tax incremental finance districts No. 3 and 5 are adding $169,000 to the levy. These dollars do not affect the tax rate. State law allows a levy increase equal to 50 percent of the increment value as a percentage of the TIF. Tax incremnetal finance districts 3 and 5 had an increment value in 2012 of 3.75 percent of the total equalized value of the village, Rath said. Germantown could increase the levy by 50 percent of that value, or 1.88 percent that totals $169,000.
"We do expect the tax rate to remain level or maybe even a little bit lower," Rath said. "We don't have the final assessment ratio from the state so I'm not positive what the tax rate will be but the projection is, if it goes up at all, it will be two cents."
Municipalities are allowed by state law to increase tax levy revenue in the percentage equal to net new construction from the preceding year. For Germantown, that translates to an allowable increase of 1.24 percent — the most the village has seen in years. The village is not increasing the tax levy revenue as much as it can; it is leaving $109,735 of possible revenue on the table in order to maintain a fixed tax rate, Rath said.
"It's pretty much a status quo budget," she said.
No staff positions added
Staffing levels, particularly at the Germantown Fire Department, have been a point of discussion over the last few weeks at the Village Board and committee levels. The proposed budget does not include the addition of any staff, Schornack said. The fire department budget has been slightly adjusted to continue staffing the department with paid-on-call employees during the weekends.
In July, the Village Board approved paying paid-on-call firefighters an hourly wage to stay at the fire station from Friday night to Monday morning — a time slot that has historically been served solely by POC firefighters. The department has faced low levels of POC firefighters over the last few years, necessitating changes to staffing. The weekend shifts were approved on a trial basis in July, but will continue at least for the first quarter of 2014, Rath said.
Residents will be able to voice their opinion on the proposed budget at a public hearing set for 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at Village Hall, W17001 Mequon Road.
WHAT: public budget hearing
WHEN: 7 p.m. Nov. 18
WHERE: Village Hall, W17001 Mequon Road
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