Franklin - Franklin's proposed budget for 2017 could bring the first tax levy increase the city has had since 2013, as the mayor's proposed budget would raise the total tax levy by of $110,500.
The proposed tax levy for 2017 is $20.6 million, while 2016's was $20.5 million.
However, the tax rate would actually be reduced, since property was reevaluated this year. While 2016's levy was $6.25 per $1,000 of assessed property value, 2017's would be $5.72 per $1,000.
Of course, this does not necessarily mean that each citizen in Franklin will be paying less. Homes that increased more than the average in value could see increased tax bills.
"An individual's (tax bill) doesn't go up just because their property value goes up, only if it goes up more than the average," explained Mark Luberda, city administrator. "We will see a little bit of an increase because of that extra $100,000 we are collecting, but how that impacts people will impact how their assessment changed relative to the average assessment."
In essence, the increased tax levy will affect each resident's tax bill differently.
Even though the past three years have not seen an increase in the tax levy, a variety of factors have changed in this year's budget, leading to this year's increase.
A simple cause is that the recommended general fund budget increased, going up from $25.6 million in 2016 to $25.9 for 2017. While in the past budget increases have been combated by finding money in other funds, doing so does not seem to be an option this year.
"Some of those strategies, once they're employed, they're sort of used up," Luberda said.
For example, the debt service fund in past years was reduced, so some of the tax dollars that would have gone toward that fund could be moved to the general fund.
The option the city seems to be left with, then, is to increase the tax levy.
However, the current rate could still potentially change. City aldermen requested at the beginning of October that Luberda draw up a document of possible cuts that could be made to the budget, giving them a perspective of what may be able to change.
"We have to decide, what do we want to do as elected officials, are we okay with this? You can see some of the cuts that could be more painful than others, do we want to go down that path? That's up for each of us to decide," Alderman Steve Taylor said at the council meeting Oct. 18.
City aldermen are planning to discuss potential changes to the budget at the common council meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, at which time there will also be a public hearing on the budget.