(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Common Council approved the 2023 budget Monday night. The $19.6-million-dollar document includes a tax levy of $13.3-million dollars, an increase of $922-thousand dollars from this year’s levy. Net new construction increased by 1.2-percent. The mill rate is $9.44 per thousand dollars of assessed value, 21-cents lower than the mill rate adopted last November.
At that time, the local median home value was $144,400 and that property owner paid $1393 for the city portion of their 2022 tax bill. This year, the local median home value is $166,300 and that property owner will pay $1570 to the city. Of that $177 increase, $162 can be attributed to debt service.
Beaver Dam will pay $1.3-million in debt in the 2023 budget, largely due to the new Public Works and Parks facility along with annual borrowing for streets, infrastructure and equipment. City workers received a 2.5-percent wage increase while health insurance costs spiked by nearly 15-percent.
During initial budget talks last month, city officials were looking at around $1-million dollars in red ink. A proposal to increase employee health insurance deductibles failed to gain traction with the council. Officials opted for a different plan: shifting the costs of garbage and recycling from the tax levy to a quarterly utility fee. The levy was unable to keep up with the actual costs of waste collection services while the move also freed up some levy space for other needs.
The creation of the Solid Waste Utility means Beaver Dam’s tax levy is decreasing by $557-thouand dollars overall while another $450-thousand dollars in levy can be directed to other essential services elsewhere in the budget. Commercial and business properties will no longer supplement a portion of the costs of residential garbage pickup. All homeowners in the city will now see a $45.40 quarterly charge for the Solid Waste Utility. However, that $181 annual cost will be somewhat offset by the corresponding reduction in the levy.
City Administrator Nathan Thiel estimates the net impact for the owner of a $166,300 home to be around $11.55 for the year for just the garbage.
“It’s representative of the change from what they were paying in 2021 and what they’d be paying in 2022,” Thiel says, “with the idea that there would be a decrease in their property tax but also that the property tax that was being used for garbage service is now being distributed to other services within the general fund.”
Alderman Ken Anderson sought clarification on the actual increase homeowners will see next year.
“The city portion of their taxes will increase the $177,” Anderson – who was among four alderpersons who voted against the budget – asked of Theil, “and then they will have an additional $181 for the garbage utility, so that would be totaling roughly $357 extra?”
“That would be correct,” Thiel stated.