Township of Springfield adds $50,000 referendum question to November’s ballot

By Amber Hayden

SPRINGFIELD— The Springfield Town Board is asking township residents in a referendum question on the November 6 ballot for permission to exceed the state-imposed limit by adding $50,000 to the tax levy.

The increase in the tax levy would be a continuing bases so that, if approved, $50,000 would be added to the 2018 taxes payable in 2019 and then also added to the tax levy every year after that.

Wisconsin Statutes limit the allowable levy for 2018 to a percentage increase of no more than the percent change in the equalized value, which for the Town of Springfield is 0.015 percent.

Town chairman Dean Fayerweather explained the revenue increase of $50,000 will be added into the 2019 road construction budget for Springfield.

“For the township to pave a road, it will cost about $150,000 to $180,000,” stated Fayerweather, “even with the increase, this does not leave us with much money – if any – to patch, chip seal or crack fill roads to keep them maintained.”

The township attempted to pass a resolution a year ago but it was voted down by the tax payers. Fayerweather believes that the increased amount may have been too high at the time for the community’s liking.

The Town Board considered three options and voted 2-1 in favor of $50,000.

“If the increase does not occur, the township has a few options,” explained Fayerweather, “it can keep band-aiding the roads by patching, or it can take out a loan to help cover costs.”

The worst case scenario, according to Fayerweather, the pavement would be ground down into gravel roads. Springfield has the option to apply for  grants, but unfortunately there is only so much money available to be distributed between all 21 townships in St. Croix County.

Springfield’s Town Board held a meeting after September and October’s monthly board meetings to inform the taxpayers about the referendum question being on the upcoming ballot. The information that was made available included tax numbers and how much taxes would increase per household.

“The feeling I received from the community members at the meetings was that they were for the increase,” explained Fayerweather.

The question will appear on the ballot as follows:

“Under state law, the increase in the levy of the Town of Springfield for the tax to be imposed for the next fiscal year, 2019, is limited to 0.015 percent, which results in a levy of $131,048. Shall the Town of Springfield be allowed to exceed this limit and increase the levy for the next fiscal year, 2019, by a total of 38 percent which results in a levy of $181,048.”

Explanation:

A “yes” vote will allow the Town Board of the Town of Springfield to increase its town levy by $50,000 for 2018 tax bills which are payable in the fiscal year 2019, and in subsequent years. This is an increase of 38 percent in the town levy for 2018 tax bills payable in 2019 and will be a similar percentage increase in the town levy in subsequent years. The primary need for the levy increase is to pay for necessary road maintenance, paving and reconstruction.

A “no” vote would prohibit a levy increase beyond the percentage allowed under the state levy limit law, which currently limits the increase to the percentage change in the Town’s January 1, 2018 equalized value due to new construction. For 2018 tax bills payable in 2019, a “no” vote would limit the Town of Springfield’s percentage increase in the town levy to 0.015 percent or $131,048. 

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