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Thiensville residents face slight decrease in tax rate, levy

Village mandated to keep flat levy due to no growth

Nov. 5, 2013

Thiensville — Deliberations on Thiensville's 2014 budget reached a conclusion Monday, and officials anticipate taking action on the document next week.

The Village Board held a public hearing this week as a formal gesture of seeking feedback from the public. No one attended the hearing, and Village Administrator Dianne Robertson revealed she had not received any correspondence from residents or business owners.

The village's largest source of income — taxes — will dip slightly in the year ahead. The village has set a levy of $2.41 million, representing a 0.24 percent decrease from the year prior.

Pointing to state statutes, Robertson said the village is prohibited from raising the levy in 2014.

"We're mandated to have a frozen levy because there hasn't been any growth," Robertson said, pointing out municipalities can only raise taxes when new construction takes place.

Next week, the board will vote on a resolution that consummates the budget and reflects a 0.11 percent decrease in the assessed tax rate and a 0.69 percent increase in the equalized tax rate.

The village anticipates a tax rate of $7.41 per $1,000 of assessed value, relevant to the upcoming tax bills.

Throughout deliberations, the board has discussed a number of issues and has tossed out at least one proposed expenditure — adding Wi-Fi to Village Park — in the 2014 budget.

Connecting businesses

The board has been narrowly divided on the proposed installation of a prefabricated pedestrian footbridge that is to be placed along Main Street and connect the village's two business corridors. The project carries an anticipated $75,000 price tag, and two property owners are providing easements to make the proposal a reality.

During this week's deliberations, the board continued to discuss the issue. Trustee John Treffert said he would like an analysis of how much money the village has invested in the area surrounding the proposed footbridge.

"It can be done, but there is some staff time involved in looking at the numbers spent in that area," Village President Van Mobley said, in response. "This expense is the equivalent of making an ice cream sundae and putting the cherry on top."

Spending money wisely

The board also briefly spent time discussing the village's one and only tax incremental financing district, which is set to close in 2017. When it does end, the village will lose a source of income.

The village has long had a pay-as-you-go policy in funding capital projects in lieu of borrowing. TIF dollars have been part of the scenario, leading several board members to question what the funding picture will be like in 2018 and beyond.

But Mobley remained optimistic, pointing to the village's healthy financial state.

"We have spent money wisely," Mobley said. "We've spent it as it comes in."

Robertson said the village has tackled a number of weighty infrastructure projects in recent years.

"You've done a lot of good things that you won't have to replace any time soon," she said to the board.

NEXT STEP

WHO: Thiensville Village Board

WHAT: adoption of 2014 budget, tax levy

WHEN: 6 p.m. Monday

WHERE: Village Hall, 250 Elm St.

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