MOUNT PLEASANT — The Mount Pleasant Village Board has approved a $22.5 million budget, which includes an increased tax levy — the amount taxpayers collectively pay to fund the budget.
The village is levying $20.3 million in 2020, which is an increase of nearly $1.1 million.
The budget also includes funding for body cameras for every officer in the Mount Pleasant Police Department that automatically turn on if the dashboard camera is triggered.
On Monday, the Village Board voted 6-1 in favor of the budget. Trustee Gary Feest was the only board member to vote against it.
Feest said in the roughly 10 years he’s been on the board, this is “the most responsible budget I’ve seen come out of this village,”
“I think Maureen (Murphy) and her staff did the best they possibly could to present this budget to the residents,” Feest said.
However, Feest does not believe the budget is sustainable and although there is no borrowing called for in the budget, he doesn’t believe that is going to happen.
“My main issue is how do we pay for things? My angst has been, we just keep floating it out to the future residents and eventually that’s going to snowball,” Feest said. “Like I said, I think it’s one of the most responsible budgets but the fact that, in my opinion, it’s not sustainable.”
Village President Dave DeGroot agreed it is a responsible budget but disagreed with Feest on how the village is handling its debt.
“This budget is kind of a reset and due in part to the growth we’ve had,” DeGroot said. “We’re not borrowing on this budget, so to suggest that our debt is increasing isn’t quite accurate.”
But DeGroot said the village does not have “a sustainable way to maintain our roads.”
“By not borrowing this year, we’re not doing much in way of roads next year,” DeGroot said. “That’s putting off work that needs to be done.”
Tax rate going down
While the budget increased nearly $1.2 million from the current year’s budget, the village’s portion of the tax rate is going down.
The tax rate is down nearly 25 cents, to $6.80 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
However, that does not necessarily mean property taxes will be going down. If a property increased in value, and many have, residents are going to end up paying more.
Village Finance Director Michael Bonn said if a $200,000 home had its property value increased 10% to $220,000 that would mean the village’s portion of the property tax would be roughly $1,496, an increase of over $90 from last year.
Besides the village, the property tax bill also includes the state, county, Gateway Technical College and Racine Unified School District.
This story has been corrected to reflect that Michael Bonn is the village finance director and not the treasurer.
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