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Village Approves Modest Levy Increase

The village's portion of the property tax bill will add less than 2 percent from last year, while the overall tax bill will only increase 1.04 percent due to a waning school district levy.

In contrast to last year when village officials scrambled to find a resolution to an enormous assessment error, Shorewood moved through an uneventful budget process this year, wrapping up Monday night adopting a $26.35 million budget and $10.5 million tax levy. 

The budget calls for a 1.79 percent increase, or $185,056, in the property tax levy from last year. 

That means the owner of a $300,000 property would see the village's portion of their tax bill rise by $38.

The village represents roughly 28 percent of the total tax bill for Shorewood residents, while the school district is 41 percent.

The overall tax bill will only increase by 1.04 percent however, thanks to the school’s portion decreasing by 1.54 percent, according to village estimates. That’s because while an assessment error had the village’s levy artificially inflated, it increased the amount of education funds the school district received from the state.

Residents won't see the effects of the assessment error — which overstated the value of the village's Tax Incremental District No. 1 as $77,000,000 rather than its true value of $77,000 in August 2011 — on the village's portion.

To do so, Shorewood officials decreased the levy by $1.465 million last year, borrowed to fund the difference in the general fund, and raised the levy this year by the same amount. 

A bill passed last year excluded Shorewood from state law, which prohibits municipalities from increasing its tax levy for any reason other than through development or referendum.

A letter explaining the error will mail out with tax bills this year.

Ins and outs of village budget

Among the more significant expenditures in the budget is $700,000 in funding for road reconstruction and maintenance, and $600,000 for storm water improvements.

Shorewood has budgeted some technology upgrades at a cost of $10,000, looks to revamp its website for $10,500, upgrade financial software for $42,500 and purchase new voting machines for $11,000.

The Shorewood Police Department is expected to get two new patrol squads, which are expected to run the village $100,000. Additionally, an upgrade of police radios will cost $40,000, and an upgrade of the records management system in the department will cost $50,000.

Shorewood’s annual payment to the North Shore Fire Department will cost about $95,000, and the village has budgeted $70,000 for a ladder truck for the fire department.

New Department of Public Works vehicles are in the proposed budget at $105,400. Landscaping upgrades at Atwater Beach would cost $40,000, and the draft budget maintains lifeguard service at the beach.

Shorewood also has budgeted $75,000 for sidewalk repairs.

The village borrowed to pay for ongoing sewer and road reconstruction projects to the tune of $2.85 million, which is reflected in the tax levy increase.

The budget earmarks money for new programs including $10,000 for a new program aimed at welcoming new residents, $2,000 for neighborhood mediation and $5,000 for an annual public art event. Officials added $20,000 for maintenance of East Capitol Drive like flowers, grass, planters and the like. Officials also set aside about $14,000 to conduct two resident surveys next year.

Due to reorganization, the village's Planning and Development department budget decreased by 5.4 percent, or $21,809.  Additionally, election costs were cut in half because of fewer elections.

Repairs to the exterior of the Village Hall building columns, replacement of the roof on the scout cabin at Hubbard Park are among items excluded from the budget.

Vicki Bennett November 21, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Interesting. I thought that, with all the gifting to the new new apartments and condo projects, we were supposed to be spared tax increases with the new tax revenue. Something doesn't add up.

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