By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — Marshfield residents may see a property tax increase of 1.9 percent for the 2018 tax year. The recommendation came from City Administrator Steve Barg, who said it would be included in next month’s budget proposal after he spent a “tremendous amount of time” working with department heads trying to find cuts to make in the city’s budget but came up short.
Along with keeping streets repaired and facilities maintained, Barg said there are numerous other costs that will affect the tax levy.
“Cost increases, we have labor agreements with the police and fire unions that must be honored. We have rising costs of employee health insurance. Currently the quote we are working on is in double digits, and we are trying to get that lowered, but that’s what we are facing along with general costs increases for fuel, supplies, utilities, all of those types of things.”
Barg added that the tax rate has increased little recently.
“In the last four years there have been very modest increases ranging from a quarter to a half percent,” Barg explained. “During that time, we’ve increased the tax rate by slightly less than 2 percent in total — 17 cents — bringing it from $8.95 per $1,000 evaluation to $9.12.”
Mayor Chris Meyer said that the $1.6 million deficit that the city started with was brought down to less than $300,000.
“Initially, we thought that we would need a 2.7 percent increase,” Meyer said. “Myself, as well as some of the city department heads, felt that it would be a challenge given that the consumer price index is 1.9 percent, so we went back and we found some more cuts, and the budget that the common council is going to be presented with here in a few weeks will request a 1.9 increase in the property tax rate.”
Meyer said that it would be in an increase of about 16 cents on the tax rate, which would equal out to about $16 for a $100,000 home in the city.
The recommended 2018 budget will be brought before the Marshfield Common Council Oct. 10 and will be followed by a series of budget hearings.