This is the breakdown of where the property tax money from a City of Burlington home valued at $200,000 goes. The chart only applies to the city’s portion of a property tax bill. Taxes for schools, the county, technical college district and the state are not included in this example. (City of Burlington graphic)

Common Council set to approve budget Tuesday

By Jennifer Eisenbart

Staff writer

According to City Treasurer Steve DeQuaker, property tax bills are expected to be mailed out sometime in the middle of December.

DeQuaker said Tuesday that he is still waiting on one of the county numbers before the amounts on the tax bills are finalized – and the city still needs to formally adopt its 2012 budget at the Dec. 6 Common Council meeting set for 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

If the city adopts its budget, the mill rate will be $7.85 per $1,000 of property value – and that is before state credits are applied.

“I don’t have that number yet,” DeQuaker added. “That’s typically about a dollar. I think last year it was $1.12. I don’t know what it will be with the state cuts.”

He expected to finalize the number next week when the council considers adopting the budget. He expects the budget to be approved.

“We’ll find out on Tuesday,” he added.

City Administrator Kevin Lahner said two weeks ago at the public hearing on the budget that this year’s process was predicated on the goals of keeping residential property taxes steady and absorb cuts in state aid.

He said the city lost about $119,000 in state aid, but because of overall tightening of the belts by various departments through increasing efficiency or cutting costs – and because the city chose not to rehire one open police position – the impact of that is negligible.

The police position won’t actually result in any loss of service, according to the department, because of increased efficiency in staffing there as well.

Lahner said that, because the city had maintained a healthy fund balance, it was also time to use a little bit of it to balance the budget – to the tune of about $500,000.

“Ours is actually very, very good, which is why it’s appropriate to bring it down,” Lahner said. “We have the luxury to bring that down slightly.”

The fund balance, Lahner said, will still be at approximately 32 percent of the total expenditures – whereas the recommended amount, Lahner said, is about 25 percent.