Glendale passes flat levy, reduced budget

Property value reduction results in tax rate increase

Nov. 20, 2013

Glendale — The city will tax the same amount as last year and spend less, but a decrease in property values means an increase in the tax rate.

The Common Council last week approved a $12.2 million levy and $18.7 million city budget. The levy remains flat in 2014 while overall city spending decreases by about $215,000, or 1 percent, compared to 2013.

Though the city's equalized value — the fair market value of city properties as estimated by the state — increased, the city's assessed value decreased by about $8 million. The spike in value of commercial properties within the city's tax incremental financing districts paired with the drop in assessed values citywide means a 21 cent, or 2.8 percent, increase in the tax rate to $7.54 per $1,000 of assessed value, City Administrator Richard Maslowski said.

For the average Glendale homeowner with a $170,000 home, that means a city tax bill of $1,281, about $35 more than last year.

In a memo to the Common Council, Maslowski writes that the continued struggle is in accounting for inflation in basic operating costs like electricity, gas, and natural gas while having flat revenue due to state-mandated levy limits.

"Having to meet these challenges, and yet find the necessary resources to meet these challenges and responsibilities with less revenue, continues to be the story of the 2014 city budget," wrote Maslowski.

State aids cut in 2012 have not been restored to their previous levels, Maslowski noted, and recent legislation has limited the city's ability to increase revenue. City officials continue to keep an eye on potential legislation which could significantly reduce the amount the city takes in each year from hotel room taxes.

Maslowski wrote that the 2014 budget was essentially balanced by reducing employee costs.

"This has been accomplished through limited wage freezes, reduced benefit levels, greater employee contributions for fringe benefits, and not filling several vacant positions," Maslowski wrote.

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