Shorewood estimates 2.4 percent levy increase for 2013
Village increases due to capital projects, increased costs
Shorewood - The village's portion of the 2013 property tax is projected to increase by 2.4 percent, according to a preliminary budget presented to the Village Board's budget and finance committee Monday.
Based on estimates from village staff, a resident with a $300,000 home is estimated to pay $50 more for the 2013 levy than the 2012.
Debt service on 2012 borrowing for capital projects like road reconstruction and stormwater system upgrades, along with similar 2013 projects, account for half of the levy increase. The other half comes from increased operating costs, largely the result of inflation, the addition of a few new programs like neighbor welcoming, neighbor mediation, and an annual public art event, as well as an average wage increase of 1.5 percent.
Playing an important role in the village's budgeting process is the combination of decreased state aid and state-mandated levy limits, which cap any increases in levy to the amount of net new construction relative to equalized value and the amount of any decreases in principal and interest payments on pre-2005 debt - though new debt service is exempt.
"(The difficulty is) balancing all the maintenance and capital needs, while trying to stay within levy limits, within a (tax) rate that can be accepted by the public," said Village Manager Chris Swartz.
He said that the village is always looking to increase or maintain the services it provides based on demand from residents, though that will get tougher if revenue limits continue to come from the state level.
A continued restraint on revenue, said Swartz, would force prioritizations over time within the budget and begin affecting maintenance and equipment.
"Eventually the services (would) suffer," he said. "You cut the muscle and eventually you're down to the bone."
For the time being, he has requested that village departments keep their 2013 budget requests modest.- Michael Meidenbauer
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