sauk city

Under the Village's of Sauk City's 2018 proposed budget, village residents could see the village portion of their taxes decrease for the fourth year in a row.

Autumn Luedke/Sauk Prairie Eagle

Following a 2017 reevaluation of the village’s assessed value, Sauk City residents will notice a 10.6 percent increase in the village’s equalized value.

During a Nov. 28 village board meeting, Sauk City village trustees passed a $1.9 million tax levy; a 2.33 percent increase from last year’s tax levy at $1.8 million according to data provided by Sauk City Village Administrator Vicki Breunig. The village’s total budget for 2018 is about $8.4 million.

The village’s assessed value – or total value of all the properties and homes in the village, has increased from $295 million in 2016 tax roll to $330 million for 2017 tax roll.

Local property taxes continue to be the largest source of revenue for the village, and the proposed 2018 fund balance would remain steady from 2017 at $3,695,933.

Breunig said the village has no plans for any large projects in 2018 that are different from prior years.

Sauk City’s mill rate for 2018 is 6.085243, a 7.12 decrease from last year’s mill rate of 6.551925.

The tax bill for a $200,000 home in the village is down 7.12 percent from $1,310 in 2016 to $1,217 in 2017.

Sauk City Village Board president Jim Anderson said the village doesn’t have the ability to grow its tax base the way other communities do.

However, a few projects in the works will help, such as Vintage which is set to open in January, 2018, a new development going in by the former Spruce Street School which was recently razed and Phase 3 of Cardinal Heights projected to begin in the spring of 2018.

“(A large percent) of a village’s budget is determined by new growth,” Anderson said. “All those projects will help a little, but won’t be realized until the 2019 budget and beyond. Until something happens where we get new growth added to the budget, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place.”

One possible solution to bringing in more money to the budget to the tune of approximately $80,500 would be the implementation of a wheel tax. Becoming more popular with counties and smaller municipalities in the state, a wheel tax is a vehicle registration fee placed on any registered vehicle in the town or municipality it resides. For Sauk City, that fee would be $20 per registered vehicle.

“The money collected from a wheel tax has to be used for anything that a vehicle uses, such as street repairs, curb and gutter, storm sewers, etc.,” Anderson said. “It would free up other money for other services. We can’t increase our budget so there are limits to what we can and can’t do.”

Village trustee Steve Haag expressed his concern over the wheel tax during the village’s Nov. 14 board meeting, and again during an interview Nov. 27.

“I’m not in favor of any extra taxes,” Haag said. “People are already taxed enough. I believe it is our job as stewards of the money allotted to us from taxpayers to find a way to work with what we have, and to not try to find new ways to tax people.”

Follow Autumn Luedke on Twitter @Apwriter1 or contact at (608) 393-5777

Reporter, Sauk Prairie Eagle