Janesville28.5°

Porter residents deny tax levy increase plan

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Catherine W. Idzerda
September 15, 2010
— It might have been the phrases “increase the levy” and “a total of 108.25 percent” in such close proximity to each other that scared off voters.

Residents on Tuesday voted 153-72 against a referendum that would have increased levy limits for the next five years, said Town of Porter Clerk Nancy Towns. The money would have been used for road construction and repairs.


Under state law, towns are limited to a 3 percent yearly increase in their tax levies.


The town board wanted to raise the total levy to $150,000, or an increase of 5.25 percent. Add that 5.25 percent to the regular 3 percent increase and you get a total of 8.25 percent.


But here’s how the crucial part of the referendum was worded:


“Shall the Town of Porter be allowed to exceed this limit, and increase the levy for the next fiscal year, 2010, (to be collected in 2011) by a total of 108.25 percent, for necessary road construction, which results in a levy of $150,000.00 in 2011, and to have an ongoing tax levy increase each year for the years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 that does exceed the amount allowed by the state levy limit by 108.25 percent?”


“That’s just how our lawyer worded it,” Towns said. “It would have been an 8 percent increase.”


The vote means the town board will have to reconsider its reconstruction plan.


“We’re getting behind on our roads; they’re supposed to replace each one every 20 years,” Towns said.


Petroleum costs have driven road construction costs up significantly, and many towns are struggling with similar issues, she said.


“The vote will basically change our road plan,” Towns said. “We just keep getting behind.”



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