RosevilleJune 29, 2012
Roseville council passes millage increase
By Sara Kandel
C & G Staff Writer
ROSEVILLE — While expressing reluctance to do so, the Roseville City Council unanimously passed a 1.464-mill increase at the June 26 regular meeting.
The millage hike will be divided among several areas and bring the total millage in the city up to the voted maximum millage allowable, which, including 1 mill each for the new Recreation Authority and the library, is 24.8494.
“I struggled with this and preferred to wait until December before doing anything in effect of raising the millage almost 1.5 mills,” said Councilman Mickey Switalski. “I had hoped that we could get through the (city’s union contract) negotiations and get as much savings as we possibly could before doing something like this, but that is not possible.”
“We have to set the tax rate now for the rest of the year. We tried but couldn’t come up with any way to give us another six months to try and come up with the savings elsewhere.”
Basically, the refuse millage, which is set each summer, was voted on by the people to charge a certain amount, but the city has been charging less than that amount.
“We get a bill from the garbage company, and we aren’t collecting the money to cover that bill, so we have to take money out of the general fund to cover it, which depletes the general fund faster than it should be,” said Councilman Salvatore Aiuto.
While refuse will receive the majority of the increase, gaining about 1.36 mills in going from approximately 1.21 mills to 2.57 mills, library debt and general operations will also capture small increases. The library debt millage will increase from 0.161 to 0.236 for an increase of 0.075. General operations will also receive an increase, going from 13.660 to 13.669.
While the library and general fund increases are nominal, officials said they will bring in funds at a time when the city is looking at another year of decreasing home values.
Despite understanding the reasoning, Aiuto expressed great difficulty in his decision.
“Our city controller and our city manager know my concerns regarding this,” he said. “We have had much dialogue. I’ve talked to many residents. I called friends, and I have two city attorneys that have given me their opinions that it is OK to do this, but I continue to struggle with this vote even at this moment right before we go to a vote.”
The increase is expected to bring in approximately $1.3 million, with $1.2 million going to refuse, $68,373 going to library debt and $35,596 to general operations.
But even with the increased millage, Switalski maintained homeowners will end up paying less than they did last year, as home values declined 11-18 percent across the city this year.
“(That) equates to $120-$400, depending on where you live in the city,” said Switalski, estimating the average reduction residents would see in their tax bills.
“When you factor in the amended budget, the average taxpayer will pay between $41 and $84 more in millage than if we did not pass the amended budget. With the budget amendment, they should see an overall decrease of somewhere between $80 to $300.”
He added that the increase will still be difficult for some even if they are paying less than they were last year: “People are paying less, but people are making less,” he said.
Mayor Pro Tem Robert Taylor acknowledged that he, too, understood the difficulties people were facing, but said that he was in favor of the millage increase.
“I think this is going to be a good thing for the city,” he said. “It’s going to kick-start our recovery plan, and not only will it help our community, but it will help our schools. I think it’s something that is necessary, and I am in favor of it.”
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