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Genoa City closing out TID by 2014


Will expected tax relief allow officials to budget for a new village hall?



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Antti
May 21, 2013 | 01:22 PM
GENOA CITY — The local tax rate relief that officials have been predicting for years is now on tap for 2014.

On May 9, the village board began the closure of the Tax Incremental District, or TID, which was created in 1997 as a way to fund infrastructure improvements.

For years, officials have cited the TID as one reason why Genoa City's local tax rate was so high.

Property tax revenue from within the TID doesn't go to the village's general fund.

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Instead, it pays off the money borrowed by the village to fund capital improvements.

"We borrowed money," Village President Bill Antti said May 16, adding that it was about $6 million.

"The purpose of the TID is so you can borrow money to do infrastructure-type things to improve the area within your district."

In an April 25 interview, Antti said the problem in Genoa City is that almost half of the village — 44 percent — is in the TID.

This left the remaining 56 percent to support the general fund, which pays for most municipal services.

"We collect money, in the form of taxes, but (the TID portion) didn't go to the regular tax base," Antti said May 16.

Now that the board adopted a resolution to close the TID and Genoa City has notified the state, it is expected to brighten the village's 2014 budget picture.

"That should bring some tax relief to people (because) the entire village is now subject to the entire levy, not just 56 percent of the village," he said. "(Closing the TID) increases the levy for the village, but because there are more people now paying into the general fund, the village's mill rate goes down."

The mill, or tax, rate is used to calculate how much taxes are paid.

For example, say the village's rate is $10 per $1,000 of equalized value.

For a $200,000 home, that person would pay $2,000 to the village.

Portions of a Genoa City taxpayer's bill also go toward local school districts, such as Brookwood and Badger, the state, the county and Gateway Technical College.

The village hall situation

With more tax revenue going into the 2014 budget, does this mean there will be a new Genoa City Village Hall in the near future?

"There has not been a decision, and I want to make that clear," Antti said.

But he said there may be a line item in the 2014 budget for a new village hall.

On April 25, Antti said he doesn't want "anybody to see a tax rate increase just so we can do something to the village."

He supplied this scenario: If the rate drops from $10 to $5, he'd want the village hall project to create a minimal increase, if any, to around $7 per $1,000 of equalized value.

At this point, the tax rate itself and the future of the village hall project can only be speculated.

On May 16, Antti said officials won't know for sure what the new village tax rate will be until a final budget is adopted.

Typically, officials and department heads begin the process of creating a budget proposal in late summer or early fall.

Why do something to the village hall? Officials have expressed concerns about existing problems with the current hall at 715 Walworth St.

Previously, Antti and Village Trustee Karen Bullock have said in interviews that there are concerns with the building, such as air quality, asbestos, a leaky roof and lack of space for village departments.

Bullock is chairwoman of the Village Hall Committee, which the board created to research ways to address the situation.

"I guess my feeling right now is, if everything were perfect with the current village hall, it still wouldn't be adequate to serve the needs of the community," Antti said April 25. But on May 16, Antti said as early as its next regular meeting, the board may hire a coonsultant to conduct a feasibility study. He said it looks like they have three options — repair the current village hall, purchase an existing building to use as a village hall or build a new hall.

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