MARINETTE — After a short public hearing and some discussion, the Marinette City Council approved the CY 2017 city tax levy and the CY 2018 city operational budget with no changes. 

The tax levy for the 2017 fiscal year has been set at $15,951,606.34, up about 3 percent from last year according to Marinette’s finance director, Jacqueline Miller. The amount includes appropriations for the Board of Education, NWTC-Marinette, Marinette County tax, TIF districts 3 and 6 through 13, and principal and interest on public debt coming due. 

The millage rate for the 2017 tax levy, after the school credit, amounts to $21.94 per $1,000 of property. This millage rate is up from the 2016 tax levy amount, $21.30 per $1,000 of property. 

The city budget, which includes expenditures for all funds, capital expenditures and operation and maintenance of all city departments, is set at $5,293,030 for the general fund and debt service funds, and $1,614,588.61 for TIF districts 3 and 6 through 13.

The budget has increased by about 3.8 percent, Miller said, and added that it rose as a result of the city’s decision to purchase capital items and tackle road construction projects that have been put off for in the past, such as the renovation of Riverside Avenue west of Hattie Street.

The public hearing for the tax levy and budget was attended by one individual, Randy Niemojuski of 622 Carney Blvd., who expressed his dissatisfaction with the budget and tax levy. 

“I just wanted to congratulate you on the good jobs you guys are doing,” he said to the council. “That’s why we’re the fifth worst city in the State of Wisconsin.” 

Niemojuski said he would like to know why taxpayers don’t have a say in how the City of Marinette spends its money, and would like to see citizens vote on spending. He added that there are “too many foreclosures” in town, and said he would like to see the long-term members of the council replaced. 

“Time for you to go,” he said. “They talk about Washington (D.C.) with the swamp, well, this is worse.” 

Council members did not respond during the public hearing, but a few indicated an interest in why the budget and tax levy increased. Miller explained that the city participates in expenditure restraint with the State of Wisconsin, which is driven by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and net new construction. 

“Last year, in the 2017 budget, we were only allowed to increase our budget by 0.9 percent because the net new construction was so low,” she said. “This year we were able to increase the budget by 4.1 percent, which we actually only did 3.8 (percent), and that is due to a lot of the new construction we have going on in the city.”

Miller added that she anticipated the city would be able to increase its budget for 2019 at a similar or better rate, as net new construction considers completed construction projects within the city, rather than ongoing projects. 

Other increases, she said, were mostly attributed to reclassification of funds, an increase in capital outlay funding and increased road construction funding. 

The proposed tax levy and budget resolutions were unanimously approved by the City Council.