A few Janesville city officials and council members joked with Finance Director Max Gagin on Monday night, saying he had gotten off easy this year when it came to presenting the proposed 2019 budget.
No residents spoke at the public budget hearing during the city council meeting, and no council members asked him questions after his brief presentation.
City officials have said since summer that the 2019 budget would be a “maintenance budget” with few significant changes from this year’s budget.
Next year’s proposed budget will have roughly 3 percent increases for the city’s total expenses, tax levy and tax rate. Those increases are smaller than the increases between 2017 and 2018, Gagin said.
Janesville had almost no change to its citywide assessed property value—less than one-tenth of one percent. Had the assessed value increased more, the tax rate increase would have been lower.
“We determine how much we need to levy, which is what we need in property taxes to balance our budget,” Gagin said. “The assessed value is essentially how big is the pie and how is that pie cut up between different properties?”
As it stands now, the tax rate is expected to jump from $9.24 per $1,000 of assessed value to $9.54, according to numbers provided by the city.
This is the first year the state will exempt certain types of industrial machinery from factoring into assessed value. That drove the city’s manufacturing value down by about 4 percent, Gagin said.
The state Department of Revenue evaluates manufacturing properties, and Janesville is now trying to figure out which properties caused the change. Residential assessed value increased by about 1 percent, he said.
The budget could still see small adjustments pending final property tax refund numbers allocated by the state.
The council is expected to approve the 2019 budget at its next meeting Nov. 26.