Under a proposed 2014 town budget that must be approved by residents before it moves forward, the town of Brookfield's tax levy could increase for the first time in at least five years, Town Clerk Jane Carlson said.
Although limited by the state, the town is allowed to increase its levy by $74,180, and the proposal on the table would use every penny of that increase, resulting in a tax rate of about $3.79 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Last year, it was $3.56 per $1,000.
The total levy would be about $3.69 million. In past years the town has turned down its allowed increases, holding the levy at $3.62 million.
"This year we're finding we need it, particularly due to road projects," Carlson said.
The town recently did major projects, out of pocket, on Brookfield and Watertown roads. More road projects are planned for 2014, Carlson said.
"We have to replenish the well," she said.
The town is allowed to increase its levy under three exceptions to state limits:
· $8,870 is allowed to account for the value of new construction in the town.
· $28,787 is allowed because the town was able to increase its levy by that amount last year and chose not to take it. If the town does not take this increase in 2014, it will lose the opportunity.
· $36,528 is allowed to recoup taxes the town lost to residents who disputed their charges in court and won.
Town Administrator Rick Czopp warned that the budget is only a draft, and some numbers might change.
Despite the proposed increase, Czopp said, the budget is largely "status quo."
If there is an increase in taxes, he said, it will be largely due to inflation and the fact that the town has not increased the levy in the past as inflation crept up.
WHAT: public hearing on town budget
WHEN: 7 p.m. Nov. 19
WHERE: Town Hall, 645 N. Janacek Road
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