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Relief for the Holidays? Tax Bills for Median Home Decreasing in Waukesha

City of Waukesha taxes going up 0.42 percent, but overall taxes will decrease by an estimated $78 on a typical home.

City property taxes are increasing 0.42 percent in the 2013 budget, but it’s the first year the budget was approved without a planned veto from Mayor Jeff Scrima, who said aldermen did a “good job.”

“It has taken us three years and two previous vetoes to bring city spending in line with what our taxpaying families are experiencing,” Scrima said after Tuesday's Common Council meeting when the budget was approved.

The tax levy for the 2013 budget is $51.68 million, with a property tax rate of $9.63 per $1,000 of assessed value. It was $51.47 million last year with a tax rate of $9.55 per assessed value.

The estimated increase for city taxes on the median valued home of $187,600 is $18.20. However, the entire tax bill should decrease an estimated $78 on the median-valued home because of reductions in other taxing entities, such as the School District of Waukesha and Waukesha County, according tt Finance Director Steave Neaman.

The city budget includes borrowing that is higher than previous years. The sewer system is in need of major improvements and the city is borrowing $20.8 million to fund those infrastructure upgrades. The sewer improvements will be paid for through increase sewer charges.

Additionally, the capital improvement budget borrowing is $8.25 million and includes replacing seven squad cars and one detective’s car. The Police Department was seeking to replace eight squad cars, citing concerns of increased maintenance costs on the vehicles.

Replacing Squad a Growing Concern

Waukesha resident Charlie Betker, a former alderman, told the Common Council that it isn’t efficient for the city to spend money repairing squad cars that could soon have failing motors and transmissions.

“We never in the past kept squad cars beyond four years,” Betker said.

Concerns were also brought up during the meeting that delaying replacement of vehicles could cause officers to experience mechanical difficulties while responding to emergency calls.

The council originally was taking up a recommendation from the Finance Committee to replace five squad cars and the detective’s car, but the council ultimately approved replacing seven of the eight marked patrol cars.

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