Common Council Approves Tax Increase

MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – The City of Marshfield Common Council met Monday to discuss the proposed 2022 budget by City Administrator Steve Barg.

The council ultimately approved the budget which includes a 2.5 percent tax increase in property taxes for Marshfield residents in 2022.

The 2021 property tax was equal to $10.25 per thousand dollars in assessed property value. The proposal asked for an increase of 26 cents making the 2022 rate $10.51 per thousand dollars in assessed property value.

For example, if a resident owns a $200,000 house, that would equal $2,102 in property taxes paid to the city with the new rate in 2022. That number would have been $2,050 using the 2021 rate.

The increase comes after the city approved a budget that induced a 7.4 percent increase in taxes for the 2021 budget.

Alderman Tom Witzel noted that last year’s 7.4 percent increase in taxes was to avoid “kicking the can down the road” in terms of the city’s debt and asked Finance Director Ron Aumann if these increases in taxes would keep happening or if the city is almost out of the woods. Aumann said ideally, this would be the last increase for awhile.

“We had hoped that next year, the 2023 budget, would be even,” Aumann said. “And that’s still a possibility if we get the growth numbers. So if we get decent growth numbers, we could be back to even next year if we could maintain a 2.5 percent expenditure increase in the general fund.”

Those growth numbers are expected to come from districts that are still being developed by the city.

Alderman Adam Fischer said he couldn’t sign off on a 2022 increase in taxes when the Marshfield Clinic lawsuit is still unresolved.

“I could not in good conscience vote to approve passing on a budget with a 2.5% increase to a public hearing when a tax lawsuit with the Marshfield Clinic Health System is looming and our city administrator admits that even with possible service cuts, it would require further tax increases to sustain such a loss from the Marshfield Clinic Health System being tax exempt,” Fischer said.

Barg stated that if the clinic were to win its lawsuit and the city were to have to pay back a portion of its tax revenue, the city would need to raise taxes by 7-8 percent to raise enough money for the $1 million or so in deficit.

“I suspect, and I’ve said it in this room before, that if in fact we were to lose to the clinic, and both of those parcels were to become fully tax-exempt, what we’d likely be talking about is a mix of tax-rate increase and budget cuts,” Barg said. “I assume some of those [cuts] would affect the level of service we have to the community because we don’t have a lot of fat in this budget.”

“It’d be very hard to swallow and I’m hoping like everyone else in this room, that it doesn’t come to that.”

A motion to approve the budget was carried out by Alderman Tim Buttke and was seconded by Alderman Michael Feirer.

The motion passed 9-1 with Fischer being the only opposition to the budget.

The budget will move to a public hearing to be held on Nov. 23 to discuss the terms of the 2022 budget with members of the public.

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News Desk
Author: News Desk