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Lower rate expected to keep town taxes flat PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by JOE POIRIER   
Wednesday, 08 November 2017 20:46

Spending plan to pay for computers for supervisors

    Grafton’s Town Board approved a tax levy with a 14-cent decrease in the tax rate for property taxes in 2018.
    The $1.7 million budget requires a $10,994 tax levy to $1.4 million, which was presented during a budget public hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 1.
    But because the value of property in the town increased by 6.4% —­­ nearly double the county average — the tax rate would drop 14 cents to $2.40 per $1,000 of property value.
    Theoretically, a lower tax rate would mean lower tax bills, but when property values are adjusted for appreciation, it’s likely the average town tax bill will remain flat.
    The biggest change in the town’s budget was an increase of $50,000 in the roads budget. According to the Town of Grafton Clerk Amanda Schaefer, the money came from an $8,000 increase in the state transportation aid for the town and reallocating approximately $31,000 that was budgeted for the Denow landfill in past years.  
    The Town Board also allocated $6,000 for tablet computers. Supr. Karron Stockwell said while she supported the purchase, residents might not agree and she suggested removing the tablet computers from the budget. Town Chairman Lester Bartel said that item could be discussed and amended later.
    The most significant discussion that took place during the public hearing concerned funding for additional full-time firefighter-paramedics for the Grafton Fire Department.
    Several members of the fire department were in attendance and voiced their support for hiring two full-time members. They said it was necessary for the safety of the town to hire additional firefighter-paramedics and were concerned that the town did not include the item in the budget.
    “Who in this room is going to die in a fire before we can get more help?” Jason Katz, a Grafton Fire Department member, said.
     Bartel said he did not disagree with adding additional staff for the fire department but the town could not include the item in the budget because there wasn’t enough information on the financial costs of adding the positions.
    Village Trustee Lisa Harbeck shared some projected cost estimates during the hearing, but the town did not receive the final projections from the village during the budget process.
    Bartel said the fire department is a village department and the town requires the village’s information before it can determine the town’s portion of funding for the department’s service contract with the village.
    The Village of Grafton initially included two full-time firefighter-paramedics to its budget by a 4-3 board vote during its budget workshop last month. But during the village’s budget public hearing on Monday, Nov. 6, the board decided to hire one full-time member starting July 1, so there would only be six months of salary in the budget.

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