McMillan to reconsider 2019 tax levy
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Electors in the town of McMillan north of Marshfield will vote for a second time tonight on how much they will tax themselves next year.
The special meeting was called for after a majority of electors present at a Nov. 13 meeting cut the proposed tax levy by nearly $166,000—from $665,815 to $500,000.
McMillan resident SAM Steiner was in the minority that night, and voted in favor of the higher amount.
“The levy was proposed after four months of deliberation and budgeting that the town board did – the town board being our elected officials in whom we have trust to do the work that we elected them to do,” said Steiner. “So, that number was not a random or unreasoned number. It was agreed upon. The entire budget, on Nov. 13, was gone through line by line by the person who then made the motion to $500,000. No reason was given as to why that reduction was happening at that meeting. So, there were many residents that were dump-founded that this actually passed because there was no reason given as to why that was a logical reduction.
“We had seen all of the reasons why the (original) proposed amount was there. It was a very conservative and appropriate budget discussion that brought us to that amount.”
The levy cut was made on a vote of 51-39. Among those voting for the lower $500,000 levy was Mike Joyce, who says the town has a budget surplus—more than enough money to operate without raising the levy any higher.
“I am in favor of this proposed deduction, as long as the facts and figures that I am seeing are correct; which I do believe they are, because there was grants of $42,000 that was not figured in this. There is so much involved here,” Joyce said. “The main thing is the $500,000 is appropriate…it leaves them with total operating costs or money with a slush fund.”
Under the original levy amount, the portion of McMillan’s 2019 budget covered by taxpayers would cost an additional $18 per $100,000 of equalized value, according to Joyce.
“McMillan’s levy would be $18 more per $100,000. Not a killer. I don’t mind paying that at all if they can actually show me why they need it, but again, when they have a slush fund laying there, do they need it?”
Town officials are requesting reconsideration on the approval of the $500,000 levy and are asking that tax payers attend a special meeting tonight for another town-wide vote.
Steiner says it’s important for people to come and have their say and have a civil discussion.
“It is important for people to come and have their say and have a civil discussion, bring your concerns forward,” said Steiner. “Concerns about the budget were not brought forward during the deliberation about this levy, so it was very surprising that this was sprung on us, where that discussion could have been brought to board members who have responded to this concern now by having three emergency meetings and reducing their proposed levy by $30.000.”
That $30,000 was a loan for a town ladder truck that town officials agreed to pay off in a special meeting held Dec. 3, which will reduce the tax levy by that amount.
Joyce also stressed the importance of attendance at the meeting, adding that this was an emphasis for another vote on the matter, with just a little over 4 percent of town electors attending the Nov. 13 meeting.
“It was only 4.5 percent, but the year before it was less than one percent,” Joyce said.
The meeting will take place this evening at the McMillan Fire Department, M400 Elm St., Marshfield, at 6 p.m.