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Staying steady

Staying steady Staying steady

Council sets city levy, at close to no change from last year’s total


For many residents the city portion of local property tax bills will remain flat this year despite a jump in assessed values due to a city-wide revaluation in Medford.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, council members gave final approval to the 2022 budget which calls for a local tax levy of $1,759,502 compared to the $1,757,553 levied last year. The levy is up by $1,949 which works out to be a 0.1% increase, well within the actual growth rate of the city. New construction in the city last year accounted for $3.2 million in additional tax base, an increase of .98% from the prior year.

The city levy is the portion of the city budget paid through local property taxes. The city’s overall budget, not including utilities, is about $4.9 million between the operations, debt service and construction funds. Those areas form a three-legged stool on which the city operates. General operations is the highest at $3.7 million covering payrolls and other general city functions. Capital construction accounts for about $912,000 which covers the upfront costs of road projects as well as the purchase of equipment. The final portion is debt service which is at $242,414. The city had benefitted from a sharp drop in the debt service portion of its budget last year freeing up funds to be used elsewhere in the budget.

Alderman Mike Bub questioned money included in the budget for downtown revitalization projects. He clarified if they will require specific action from the board to be spent or if by approving the budget the council was approving spending on those projects.

“There are a lot of things in the budget we never vote on again,” Bub said.

“It will be like a street project” said City coordinator Joe Harris explaining the council will have to give approval to go out on any bids and have to give approval of the bids before any work can begin. This will give the council opportunity for input on any projects.

Aldermen voted unanimously to approve the budget as presented and to set the tax levy. The city is one portion of property tax bills. Other portions include the county, school district, technical college and state.

The Medford school board and county board are scheduled to formally set their levy amounts next week. Tax bills will go out in December.

In other business, council members approved on a 7-1 vote, a three-year lease agreement with the Medford Area Chamber of Commerce for the continued use of the former city-owned public library building located at the intersection of Main and Perkins streets.

The agreement does not charge the Chamber rent of the building, however as in the past the Chamber is responsible for routine maintenance expenses and half the cost of any major upkeep needed.

Alderman Greg Knight voted against approving the lease renewal. At last week’s committee of the whole meeting Knight spoke against waiving the rent on the building.