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Municipal spending, revenue plan

City tax levy up 2.8% in support of 2022 budget; American Rescue Plan aided in funding

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The City Council has approved a small increase in the tax levy that will support the 2022 operating budget for the City of Kenosha.

The levy, which will be reflected in property tax bills and paid by local taxpayers, will be 2.8% higher than the previous year. The taxes collected generally are applied to the cost of city services as well as debt service payments. The levy set to be collected will be approximately $2 million greater than last year, and is estimated to bring in $73.5 million.

Of the total levy, $45.3 million will go toward general government expenditures and $15.73 million will cover debt service. The remainder covers costs associated with community promotion, libraries, museums and other programs.

Local taxes

City Administrator John Morrissey said the corresponding tax (mill) rate will be $12.11 per $1,000 of assessed value. This puts the city portion of a tax bill on a $200,000 property at $2,422. In 2021, owners of a $200,000 property paid $2,380 to the city based on a tax rate of $11.90 per $1,000 of the property value.

John Morrissey, city administrator

Morrissey

Morrissey said the net mill rate for a property tax bill in the city is $25.99 per $1,000 of value. This rate includes all taxing entities that show up on the tax bill (city, Kenosha Unified School District, Kenosha County and Gateway Technical College). As an example, on a $200,000 property, the net rate equates to a total tax bill of $5,198.

Where the money goes

According to Morrissey, the city portion of the levy will support a 2.4% increase in the general fund budget, up $2.1 million from this year’s adjusted $88.8 million budget to a little under $90.1 million in 2022.

Overall, the budget proposed for 2022 is approximately $233 million, which is up 2.48% from the adopted 2021 budget of $227,142,985.

Expenditures in the three largest divisions supported by the general fund budget will increase accordingly:

General government — will increase 5.7% from $7,531,974 this year to $7,963,620 in 2022

Public safety (police and fire) — will increase 3% from $47,635,360 this year to $49,054,545 in 2022

Public Works — will increase 1.4% from $9,381,044 this year to $9,512,490 in 2022

“The main increase is due to the wage increase of 2.25% for employees,” Morrissey said.

American Rescue Plan funds

Morrissey said police, fire and transit employees received that level of an increase per their contracts. Under the proposed budget, general employees are to receive a 1% increase. The budget adopted by city officials uses $200,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funding to give all employees at 2.25% raise, Morrissey said.

“During 2021 , the city received approximately $13 million through the American Rescue Plan Act to respond to the economic and public health impacts of COVID-19,” Morrissey said. “The city is in the process of completing a plan for the funds to be used in the next three years.”

In addition to the $200,000 approved to be used for employee raises, $12.39 million has been earmarked via resolution for:

Renovation of the Brown Bank building in Uptown to be a local training center ($2.25 million)

Education and job training ($4.05 million)

Planning, design and initial construction of an incubator and technology center ($2.5 million)

Broadband infrastructure projects ($1.57 million)

Public health ($1.45 million)

Lost revenue ($270,000); and

Storm water infrastructure ($300,000).

Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian was joined Friday morning, July 9, 2021, by several state officials and developers for the planned Uptown Lofts, which is expected to break ground this fall with an eye on completion in 2022.

The plan was first unveiled last November in the wake of the destruction and riots in Uptown following the officer-involved shooting of Jacob Blake — and since that time, it has progressed to not only include 107 apartments and townhomes, but also include 20,000-square-feet of retail space in the area on 63rd Street between 22nd and 23rd avenues.

Capital improvements

Morrissey said the total capital improvement plan is $31,548,462. The majority of those funds are related to public works projects and Fire Station No. 4 construction. The total includes $13,015,890 from outside funds (grants, storm water fund, TIF funds) and the approved borrowing of funds is $18,532,572

SPECIAL REPORT: Forward Kenosha County -- A look at the development and innovation in our community

The past year could be described as one of unforeseen challenges, change and resourcefulness.

Kenosha County’s residents and business community faced a pandemic, project and economic slowdowns and civil unrest and yet still there were examples of positive and significant developments.

A list of major employers in Kenosha County compiled by the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, had 23 names on it in 2008. It now totals roughly 50 and is continuing to grow.

Making strategic, long-term investments in our infrastructure, the county laid the groundwork to attract dozens of major employers and thousands of jobs to the county. 

Attached are several stories that ran in the Sunday, March 21, special section, Forward Kenosha County. Look for the second part of the special section in the Sunday, March 28 edition of the Kenosha News.

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