Watertown property owners could see 2% tax rate increase in 2023-24
WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Property owners in the city of Watertown could see a small increase in taxes when the new fiscal year starts on July 1.
In city manager Kenneth Mix’s proposed 2023-2024 budget released Monday, the tax rate would increase by 1.99%, from $8.7871 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $8.9618.
For a property assessed at $100,000, taxes would increase from $878.71 to $896.81, or $18.10.
That represents a $335,000 increase — 3.43% — in the city’s tax levy.
In his budget memo, Mix says it’s a good idea to make small increases each year.
“Costs increase every year, but the average annual tax rate increase for the last five years has only been 0.644%,” he wrote. “This will be nowhere near enough to keep up with future costs.”
Included in the budget is a $3,000 salary increase for the mayor and city council members starting January 1. The increase, Mix notes, was requested by Mayor Jeff Smith, who will no longer be mayor or a council member in 2024.
The proposed budget includes $2 million from the city’s $20 million fund balance — essentially a savings account. Mix notes in his budget summary that $11 million is needed for cash flow.
There would be few changes in personnel. One position is being eliminated and four added: two tree trimmers and two bus drivers.
Other than that, Mix said, the proposed budget is pretty much the same as the one the city is operating under now.
The city council has scheduled five meetings in May to review the proposed spending plan.
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