JEFFERSON — Even with all the improvements the City of Jefferson plans to do next year, residents will not see much of a change on their tax bill if a proposed budget is passed. In fact, the property tax rate will decrease slightly.

The 2020 proposed budget for the City of Jefferson was laid out at the Jefferson Common Council meeting Tuesday night, with City Administrator Tim Freitag giving an overview.

The proposed tax levy for the city is $4,506,575, which amounts to an 0.8-percent increase from the previous year. That amounts to a property tax rate of about $8.58 per $1,000 assessed valuation for homeowners.

What this means is the average property tax bill will decrease about 34 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation from the previous year.

But the key is the fact that property values also have gone up. A home that is valued at $200,000 will save an estimated $68. But if a home has been assessed at a higher value recently, its property tax bill most likely will increase.

“The real estate market in the city is pretty healthy. That comes as property values are going up,” said Freitag.

With all the plans for capital and other improvements, the city’s budget also calls for a $2,645,700 increase. That brings the total to $16,630,475. The city also has no plans to change existing services, Freitag said.

What is in the city’s favor is that property values have increased significantly almost every year since 2012. During that time, the value of property in the city has increased almost $100 million.

With things doing well for the city budget, next year is one of the largest capital improvements projects in a while, Freitag said.

Part of the $3.1 million in proposed spending on projects will go toward capital equipment replacement, facility maintenance, street reconstruction, creation of a new park on a former county shop site and the continuation of the riverwalk.

The projects include everything from a police car to new scoreboards at Riverfront Park. There also will be a new HVAC system at the public library and lower-level service area renovation. The city pool area also will be replastered.

Two of the larger projects will include a new parks maintenance building and street resurfacing.

So, the larger question is how do you pay for all this without raising taxes. Part of that comes with the General Obligation Promissory Notes the city has secured that will bring in about $2,265,000.

Freitag told the council that five bidders came in for the notes, with the winning bid at a 1.81-percent interest rate. Bankers’ Bank of Madison was the lowest bidder.

Freitag noted the bond rating for the city looks good. The notes will run through 2028.

The timing for the projects is perfect with other debt having come off the books recently, Freitag noted.

The city will add one new full-time Parks Department position. There also will be a 3-percent pay raise for city employees — with a 2.5-percent increase in a collective bargaining agreement for police.

The council will be back to work Nov. 19 for a public hearing and to vote on the proposed budget for the next year.

Also, good news for homeowners is there is no plan for water, electric or storm water rate increases.

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