Municipal Aid, Levy Limits, Etc.

Shared Revenue
The Governor’s budget makes no cuts to the Shared Revenue program. Funding levels are similar to the prior budget. No changes are made to the method for determining each community’s shared revenue payment. Shared revenue will continue to be distributed on an historical basis. Under the Governor’s budget, most communities will receive the same payments in 2015 and 2016 that they received in 2014.

Expenditure Restraint Program
Total funding for this program has remained the same since 2003 and that is proposed to continue. The League is seeking a budget amendment modifying the expenditure restraint law to clarify that when 2 or more communities collaborate on shared service delivery they will not be disqualified from receiving payments under the expenditure restraint program.

Levy Limits
The Governor’s budget makes no changes to levy limits. A municipality may increase its levy from one year to the next by the percentage increase in equalized value from net new constriction. A supermajority vote is still required to approve carrying over any unused levy capacity from the prior year. Plus, the maximum amount that can be carried over is 1.5% of a community’s actual prior year levy. The league is seeking a budget amendment that would eliminate the supermajority vote requirement and the 1.5% cap.

Payment for Municipal Services

The Governor’s budget bill funds the Payment for Municipal Services program at the same level it has been the last couple of years, $18.5 million. This amount is sufficient to fund only 42% of a community’s statutorily-defined entitlement under the program. The budget bill retains the current method for determining the annual payment to municipalities that service state facilities, but explicitly provides that the newly created UW System Authority, rather than the state DOA, shall make payment for municipal services provided by municipalities to facilities of the authority.

Property Tax Assessment
Proposes to change the property tax assessment process from a municipal-based system to a county-based system. Municipalities over 39,000 in population can opt out of county-based assessment. The League opposes the shift to county assessment.

Local Government Property Insurance Fund
The Governor’s budget eliminates the Local Government Property Insurance Fund. The League opposes eliminating the fund.

Repeal of LEAN Grant Program
The Governor’s budget repeals a grant program for municipalities seeking partial reimbursement of costs incurred in hiring a LEAN consultant to help the community implement a LEAN efficiency program. Under the program, municipalities were eligible to receive up to $2,000 in reimbursement.

Additional Information on Property Tax Bills Required
The Governor’s budget bill requires that the following new information be included on property tax bills:
  • The amount of the debt service from bonds issued by each taxing jurisdiction and the taxpayer's proportionate share of that amount.
  • The amount of any fees or charges assessed by each taxing jurisdiction that is collected in the tax levy and the taxpayer's proportionate share of that amount.
  • The amount of the taxes levied for the maintenance and operation of each county, city, village, town, school district, and technical college district where the property is located.
  • The amount of the taxes levied to pay for all of the following:
    • The redemption charges on any bonded indebtedness or other long term obligation incurred by each taxing jurisdiction where the property is located.
    • Additional amounts levied pursuant to a referendum to exceed a tax levy limitation of a taxing jurisdiction where the property is located.
    • The maintenance and operation of any taxing jurisdiction where the property is located, other than the jurisdictions.