Municipalities Ask For Less-Strict Property Tax Levy Limits

State League Of Municipalities Wants Limits To Increase With Inflation


The Wisconsin League of Municipalities is asking lawmakers to provide more flexibility with levy limits in the next legislative session.

The league’s assistant director Curt Witynski said municipalities are finding it more difficult to provide services with limits on what they can levy in property taxes. Witynski said the League would like to see lawmakers allow levy limits to grow with the rate of inflation.

“We can only increase from one year to the next by the rate of net new construction that has occurred in your community,” he said. “If there hasn’t been any new things constructed, which in many communities there haven’t, you’re basically frozen from one year to the next.”

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Witynski said that six communities across the state sought to exceed levy limits with referendums in the last election. He expects that number to grow. He said municipalities want more flexibility to raise or change property taxes.

“To be able to provide all the services that local governments do, we need adequate resources to do that,” he said.

Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen said the city has maintained its $27 million budget for the last four years. He said cities need more options.

“As go the cities of Wisconsin, so goes Wisconsin,” said Hagen. “You can’t expect cities to survive if they keep cutting.”

Hagen said the average property tax bill is $2,400, and that one-third of that goes to city services.

Gov. Scott Walker said last week that he’s committed to cutting property taxes despite a projected $2.2 billion budget shortfall.