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Greenfield to increase property tax levy

Raising revenue will allow council to lower debt payments

Nov. 27, 2012

Greenfield - The city's proposed 1.98 percent 2013 property tax levy increase went to 2.74 percent at the Greenfield Common Council meeting Nov. 20.

The increase came because a majority of the council wanted to raise more money in 2013 so the city won't have to borrow so much for road projects, thereby lowering debt payments in 2014.

Alderman Karl Kastner said he supported raising the levy to protect the city's economic sustainability.

"You can only steal so long from future generations by borrowing," Kastner said. "We're not increasing the amount of money we're spending, we're lessening the amount of money we borrow in 2013, which will lessen the impact on the levy in 2014."

In his view, the alternative is spending even less and he didn't see much support for that.

The plan to increase taxes narrowly passed by a vote of 3-2.

Alderwoman Linda Lubotsky voted against the higher levy, she said, because this isn't the time for such a large increase.

"It's way too much," Lubotsky said. "During tight economic times, I can't support paying any more in taxes than we're paying now." People are still dealing with their own pay freezes, she said.

"A lot of my constituents are upset not only because they raised it but it's higher than the mayor proposed," Lubotsky said.

She didn't agree that few support cutting spending.

"We could cut out some road projects and there would be no increase," she said.

Joining Lubotsky in voting against the new 2013 levy was Alderwoman Pam Akers. Aldermen voting with Kastner to increase the levy were Tom Pietrowski and Shirley Saryan.

The city's 2013 operating budget, also approved last week, is up 2.7 percent from this year.

"It's a very tight, flat, lean proposal," Kastner said.

AT A GLANCE

2013 Muncipal Levy: $21,995,447

2012 Municipal Levy: $21,409,326

Difference: up 2.74 percent, or $586,121 more

2013 Operating Budget: $24,404,556

2012 Operating Budget: $23,765,134

Difference: up 2.7 percent, or $639,422 more

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