Marshfield tax rate increase more than anticipated
For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD – Following a three-hour budget planning session on Oct. 29, Marshfield city officials say property taxes in the city will now be increasing 3 percent, up from the 2.2 percent anticipated just a week earlier.
That new proposed tax rate is $9.54 per $1,000 of assessed property value, representing a total 28 cent per $1,000 increase compared to 2019 when the tax rate was $9.26 per $1,000.
Marshfield City Administrator Steve Barg says the larger increase is due in part to a tax rate that’s been kept too low, for too long, especially as compared to other cities of similar size.
“We have under-levied for quite a while,” Barg explained. “From 2005 to 2018, we have had a total increase in the tax rate of just under 4 percent over 14 years. And as a result of that, we’re starting this year at $9.26 per $1,000 of value, while our neighbors in Point, Rapids, and Wausau are well above that.”
The city is also still recovering from a budget shortfall that was discovered last February as a result of tax incremental district accounting practices used by the city’s previous finance director from 2011-17.
Mayor Bob McManus says, unfortunately, it’s the taxpayer who ends up paying the price. “The people that are carrying the brunt of this are the tax-payers and the city staff. And so to the taxpayer, I apologize. It just kills me that this is going to go to the taxpayer. It’s just wrong.”
Also contributing to that larger than anticipated increase are new figures that have come in this week showing that the city’s assessed value increased by only 2 percent, instead of the 5 percent that was originally estimated.
Voting against that 3 percent tax rate increase were council members Rebecca Spiros, Peter Hendler, Adam Fischer, and Tom Buttke.
A public hearing and final vote on Marshfield’s 2020 city budget is scheduled for Nov. 26.