City tax rate to spike under proposed budget

Drop in taxable new construction, equalized values blamed
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Shawano property owners will see a huge spike in their tax rate under the city’s proposed 2018 budget, though the sticker shock on their total tax bill will be lessened somewhat by a decrease in taxes from the school district and county.

The city’s portion of the bill will jump by about 60 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, from $9.29 to $9.89.

Thanks to a decrease in the tax rates of other taxing entities, however, the total tax bill will go up by only about 5 cents per $1,000, from $23.93 per $1,000 of assessed value to $23.98. That means the owner of a $100,000 home would pay an additional $5 in taxes.

The Shawano School District’s assessed tax rate for city property owners will drop by about 45 cents per $1,000 to about $9.65, while county’s assessed rate will ease by 9 cents to about $5.16 per $1,000.

Rates for the state and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College are roughly the same as last year.

The school district and the county benefited from an increase in equalized values, which drove their tax rates down. The county also saw a roughly 1 percent increase in net new construction.

Shawano’s net new construction, however, dropped by $476,000, or 0.09 percent, while the city’s equalized value dropped from $510 million to just under $508 million.

City Administrator Brian Knapp said the demolition of the former Shawano Medical Center likely contributed to that drop and offset any other growth in the city.

The city’s assessed value dropped by more than $3 million from $514 million to just under $511 million.

The city did see a $5.1 million increase in the equalized value of properties within the Tax Incremental Finance districts, but those gains are not levied for general tax purposes. Instead, any increase in taxes goes to paying off the debt incurred for any infrastructure and other improvements that went into creating the TIF district.

“Those conditions account for a 15 cent increase (in the city’s tax rate) without any increase in actual dollars being levied,” Knapp said. “The 2017/18 capital improvement projects debt adds 17 cents and the parks referendum debt adds 27 cents.”

The park referendum overwhelmingly approved by voters in April for improvements to Franklin and Smalley parks and a splash pad at Memorial Park was advertised by city officials as adding 25 cents per $1,000 to the tax rate.

The city’s portion of the tax levy would go up by about $275,000 under the proposed budget, from $4.7 million to $5 million. That figure includes $68,000 taken out of the tax base for TIF district financing, while the rest consists of $81,000 for 2017/18 CIP projects and $126,000 for park referendum debt.

Knapp noted there is no increase in the city’s operational expenses included in the proposed levy, in spite of a $173,000 increase in employee health insurance premiums and a $33,000 increase in Workers Compensation premiums.