Franklin - Franklin's common council brought the tax levy for 2017 back down to a zero percent increase, keeping the tax levy from increasing for the fourth year in a row.

The tax levy now sits at $2.51 million, making the tax rate $5.69 per $1,000 of assessed property value. This rate is reduced from the original proposed rate, which was already lower than last year's due to fluctuation in property value in this year's reassessment.

"It was extremely important to hold the line on taxes, because at the end of the day, we're spending taxpayers money. It's someone else's money that we're collecting, and we have to be good stewards of it," said Alderman Steve Taylor.

In the mayor's proposed budget, the tax levy would have increased $110,500 from last year's. However, aldermen, determined not to increase taxes, moved landfill siting fees to add to the general fund, eliminated a small park project, and reduced a few other items in the general fund to bring down the total budget.

These changes resulted in bringing the tax levy down without adding any additional debt.

However, Mark Luberda, director of administration at Franklin, cautioned that while these fixes do solve the problem now, they are not long-term solutions.

"My caution is that it will be harder next year to achieve the same results," Luberda said. "It will be harder to maintain current services and keep it within the levy growth allowed."

Alderman Dan Mayer, who voted against all three motions to cut the budget, expressed similar sentiments as Luberda.

"Sooner or later, that's going to force us to raise taxes more than we wanted to," Mayer said of using landfill siting fees to fill in gaps in the general fund, though he added that he approved of the overall budget.

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