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Falls village levy increases slightly

Property value drop accounts for net increase

Nov. 20, 2012

Menomonee Falls - The Menomonee Falls Village Board on Monday approved a 0.95 percent increase to the property tax levy for the 2013 budget.

The 2012 tax rate was $5.1947 per $1,000 of assessed value; the 2013 rate has been set at $5.1997 per $1,000 of assessed value. The total levy for the 2013 budget is $21,915,109, which reflects a $205,589 increase, or a 0.947 percent increase from last year's levy of $21,709,520. The 2013 general operating budget also increased 0.9 percent.

Fees and utility rates will remain the same in 2013.

"This year, with very minimal increase in the tax rate, the direct impact to citizens is minimal," Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald said. "We think in this economy, it would have made no sense to do anything radically different."

Since 2006, the total tax increase for a property valued at $250,000 was $29. For homes assessed at $250,000 and less, the 2013 budget reflects a tax increase of about $1, which property owners will see on their upcoming tax bills.

To help balance the budget, there are 10 fewer positions going into 2013. To counteract that, the village is issuing more service contracts, an expenditure that is slightly up in the 2013 budget, Fitzgerald said.

"There will be no switch in service level or noticeable changes to service that citizens would see out in the street," he said.

The only employee expenditure increase is in public safety as one new position was added.

"This is meant to be a flat budget in all areas relative to village functions," Fitzgerald said.

The sanitary sewer utility has been operating on a loss, which Fitzgerald said is due to stalled growth in the community. Despite this, the village is keeping the utility rates flat and making up for the losses elsewhere. The annual sanitary sewer utility fee remains at $100.12.

Under state statutes, municipalities can raise a levy based on the rate of new construction, which is reflected in the Menomonee Falls. The village saw $43 million in new construction and had the eighth largest amount of new construction in the state. Fitzgerald said the village also lost $12 million in value. This gain and loss equates to the 0.95 percent increase.

It was a difficult budget to balance, Fitzgerald said.

"We are pleased to say fairly clearly to the community that this is of minimum impact to the community and all the service will continue where it is," he said.

Village Board President Randy Newman thanked staff for keeping the budget balanced and keeping staff motivated in the current economic climate.

"It is hard to do that in this day," Newman said.

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