Property taxes increase in Eau Claire budget proposal - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Property taxes increase in Eau Claire budget proposal

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Eau Claire (WQOW)- City staff call Eau Claire one of the fastest growing cities in the state, but growth comes at a cost. On Monday, the Eau Claire City Council will hear the first draft of next year's budget.

The city said the state tax levy limits set the bar at about $550,000. That means for a home valued at $150,000, property taxes would go up $29.

If this budget is approved, the general fund would see a 3.68% increase from last year, to sit at about $67 million. The biggest chunk of that is for personnel.

About $500,000 was added for retiree health insurance, a cost the city said is a response from baby boomers preparing to leave the workforce. It also calls for a $230,000 increase for salary step raises. The city said that is part of an effort to keep competitive salaries for employees in order to attract high quality workers.

The city said as we grow, so does the need for services. This is how we pay for those services. When broken down by months, the city said property taxes turn out to be less than an average cell phone or internet bill for a family of four.

"For $30 a month you get all your police protection. For about $20 a month you get your fire protection. For a little over $3 per month you get your snow and ice control, so all the streets in the city plowed, taken care of, salted so you can get to work and can get to your kids activities, those sorts of things," said Eau Claire Finance Director Jay Winzenz.

The city is also looking to add an information technology employee who would oversee all city departments and the technology they use. It would also add $25,000 for more resources to enforce parking around downtown, a need the city is due to increased traffic and more people utilizing downtown space.

The city will present the budget during Monday's meeting. A public hearing will be held ahead of the city council's vote, which is expected to take place early next month.

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