Hobart has lower-than-average mill rates
By Ben Rodgers
HOBART – In an effort to clarify any misconceptions residents may have on their property tax bills, and to keep the village board up to date, Aaron Kramer, village administrator presented a detailed report, Sept. 4, on mill rate history in the village.
“It’s always valuable before you know where you’re at to know where you’ve been as far as taxes,” Kramer said. “Of course one of the common conceptions is taxes are high, and obviously that’s a matter of perception. I think the data we put together shows we’re competitive with our tax rates when you look at our neighbors and what their numbers are.”
For 2017, Hobart ranked seventh out of nine villages in Brown County for the lowest tax rate at $4.41 per $1,000 of assessed home value, with Pulaski holding the top spot at $8.37 and Bellevue the lowest at $2.86.
Other villages compiled in the report are Allouez at $7.21, Ashwaubenon at $6.12, Denmark at $5, Howard at $3.92, Suamico at $4.58 and Wrightstown at $7.87.
Hobart is home to two school district mill rates, which both make up the lion’s share of the property tax bills.
Wisconsin Highway 54 acts as a general dividing line, with homes to the north in the Pulaski School District and homes to the south in the West De Pere School District.
For those in the Pulaski School District, Hobart’s total percentage of the net overall property tax is 23.8 percent.
In the West De Pere School District, the village comprises 22 percent of the net overall property tax.
West De Pere has typically had the higher rate between the two districts.
Other entities that receive property tax include Brown County and the technical college.
“When you look at the overall tax bill, half of it goes to the school districts,” Kramer said. “The village component is less than 25 percent. We’re third in the pecking order when it comes to where the tax bill goes. We’re even behind Brown County.”
Kramer said he is currently working on the 2019 budget, but his plan is to keep the village tax rate at $4.41 per $1,000 of assessed home value, the same as it was in 2018.
“I have gone into every budget in the administration, whether here or my previous community, with the same initial goal, which is to keep the mill rate static,” Kramer said.
The next budget has some built-in help, but that will likely come at a price.
Preliminary estimates show the village added $79 million in taxable value, with the largest increases in residential ($56 million) and commercial ($23.8 million) property value.
Both of the village’s tax incremental financing districts (TIDs) showed growth as well. TID No. 1 went up $33 million, or 24 percent, and TID No. 2 increased $13 million, or 35 percent.
However, new values in the TIDs doesn’t equate to property tax savings, as those dollars are used to improve the TIDs until they are released onto the general tax roll.
Outside of the TIDs, Hobart saw an increase of approximately $32 million, mostly due to residential construction.
The growth will allow some flexibility when planning the 2019 budget.
“Our overall tax levy may increase, but our mill rate will remain static, because you have more taxable property to spread that mill rate across,” Kramer said.
Coupled with the increase in taxable value, Hobart saw a spike in population. The two together mean the new budget will have to include increased basic services for residents, like police protection and public works.
“I think we have flexibility but we also have to be cognisant of the fact that with additional growth comes pressure to provide additional services or increase the level of delivery of that service,” Kramer said.