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Two area taxing districts recognized for saving taxpayer's money


MADISON, WI (WSAU) -  Property tax bills are arriving in mailboxes this week, and Marathon County taxpayers have two reasons to celebrate. 

The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance says net levies are expected to go up less than 1% on average statewide, but there are some taxing districts that went up higher and some that went down.

Two of the taxing entities that cut their levies are here in central Wisconsin. Marathon County is down 3.1% from last year, which is the second biggest drop in the state behind Lafayette County. Technical colleges had the biggest average statewide tax increase, but Wausau based Northcentral Technical College went down 2.3% from last year.

WISTAX President Todd Berry said changes in individual tax bills can vary considerably from state averages due to local spending preferences, referenda results, and property values.



MADISON— With 2012-13 property tax bills arriving across Wisconsin, net levies statewide should, on average, rise less than 1%, according to a preliminary estimate from the nonpartisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX).The net amount of property taxes sought by various units of government, after subtracting two state-funded credits, should rise about 0.7% to $9.55 billion, WISTAX researchers said. The projected increase is slightly higher than last year (0.2%) but less than the increases of 2010-11 (2.8%) and 2009-10 (4.2%).One major contributing factor to the small projected tax change is state-imposed revenue and levy limits on local governments, WISTAX President Todd A. Berry explained.Berry said taxpayers should remember that changes in individual tax bills can vary considerably from state averages. "Local spending preferences, referenda results, and varying increases and decreases in individual and community property values can all contribute to larger tax increases or decreases," the WISTAX president noted.The prime users of property taxes in Wisconsin are K-12 schools, municipalities, counties, and technical college districts. Of these, the largest average increase (2.0%) is coming from technical colleges. Individual "tech" district changes vary more, however, from up 7.4% in the Fox Valley district to down 2.3% in the Wausau-based North Central district. Technical college levies totaled $786.7 million this year.School districts levied the most in dollar terms, almost $4.66 billion. However, the average increase is only 0.2%. Reflecting this small overall change, almost half (45.3%, or 192) of districts had increases or decreases of 2.5% or less. Of the 50 districts with the largest levies, increases were highest in Stoughton (8.6%) and Wauwatosa (6.1%). The largest cut was in Deforest (-6.6%).County levies are rising 0.7%, according to preliminary collection figures. Of 72 counties, 62 raised or lowered levies by less than 2%, WISTAX found. The largest increases came in Chippewa (4.9%) and Kewaunee (4.1%) counties. Of the 15 counties that trimmed levies, the largest reductions came in Lafayette (-6.9%) and Marathon (-3.1%) counties.Due to slow reporting, municipal property tax totals had to be estimated based on limited data. WISTAX projects that they will grow about 1.0% to over $2.48 billion.The latest Focus newsletters from WISTAX, "Here come 2012-13 property tax bills (I)" and "Here come 2012-13 property tax bills (II)," are available at www.wistax.org or by emailing wistax@wistax.org; calling 608.241.9789; or writing WISTAX at 401 North Lawn Ave., Madison, WI 53704-5033. o