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Altoona City Council approved budget for 2018

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Jessica Bringe | WEAU

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU)-- The Altoona City Council has approved the city's 2018 budget.

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The budget will keep property tax rates steady despite major projects, including the River Prairie development.

"We pay a lot, at least my family does, and anything to not increase it any more would be great," said Altoona homeowner Rhonda Langlais.

The total general fund budget is about $10.5 million which is down around $2 million from last year's budget.

However, the city says that the $2 million went towards building River Prairie Center so the budget is, essentially, still about the same.

City administrator Mike Golat said based on the city's growth, it could have increased property taxes but as a policy decision, the council decided to maintain the rates.

"We know that we live in a region where people make choices about where they live and part of their consideration is first probably schools, quality of life, but also the tax rates," said Golat. "So, we're mindful of all those things developing a budget to try and attract people to our community."

Golat says even without increasing the tax rate, the city will receive $89,000 more in its general tax fund due to the city's growth.

He also says it received some additional revenue from a number of sources, including $7,200 from transportation aid and 46,000 from room tax revenue.

"Our increase in expenses were offset by our increase in revenue so we're essentially able to maintain our levy," added Golat.

The city says it also hopes to continue maintaining lower property taxes but that will depend in part on the expenses and growth of the River Prairie development over the next year.

Finance director Tina Nelson said, "We want to be competitive to other cities in our area, we want to keep them in Altoona, we have invested a lot in our city and we want to keep people here."

The city does stress it only controls about one-third of the decision to increase property taxes and that the school district and the county will have to make a decision as well.

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