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Marysville to raise property taxes for first time in nearly two decades

A screenshot of Marysville Finance Director Mike Booth on May 13.

By Jim Bloch

For the first time since 2006, the city of Marysville is raising the millage rate for property owners. The rate has been 16.11 and will increase a half-mill for fiscal year 2024-2025, which begins July 1, to 16.61. It will raise about $235,000 in the first year.

Finance Director Mike Booth presented the city’s new budget to the city council at its regular meeting May 13. The council voted unanimously to approve the budget.

The city’s taxable value is up five percent over last year to $472,697,997. With the new millage rate, the city’s revenue will be $7,851,514, up $602,362 from last year.

The 16.61 millage represents 37 percent of the overall millage rate in the city, which is 45.1259, paying for state education, Marysville schools, RESA, the general operations of the county and voted county taxes for the library, parks, seniors, the drug task force, roads and veterans.

Utility rates are increasing 2.7 percent. Water rates will remain unchanged; sewer rates will increase 3.2 percent; most of the overall increase is driven by the new six-year refuse pickup contract with Emterra, up 7.1 percent.

City Manager Randy Fernandez said that the city has the lowest water and sewer rates in the state and the lowest refuse pickup rate in the county.

The city’s general fund will be $12,535,567, up $817,000 or seven percent from last year. The largest component of the general fund is public safety at nearly $5.8 million, almost half of the budget, followed by transfers out, $2 million; general government, $1.6 million; public works, $1 million; refuse pickup, $851,000; parks, library and historical $605,000; street lights, $260.000; cemetery, $241,000; and economic development at $135,000.

The general fund has been growing 6.7-9.9 percent a year since 2019, when it was $8.6 million.

Public safety jumped more than 50 percent to $5.8 million.

“Now, according to state requirements, we have to put the pension numbers in each of the departments,” said Booth, as heard on the recording of the meeting posted on Vimeo. “If I backed that out, public safety would be up … six percent.”

The city has two pension plans, one for general city employees and one for police and firefighters. Both have dropped below 60 percent funding. The general employee plan was 55.3 percent funded in 2023, down from 60 percent in 2022 and 72.3 percent in 2021. Police and fire is funded at 52.2 percent, down 64.26 percent two years ago.

“We have worked to do on the pensions,” said Booth.

By contrast, retiree healthcare is funded at nearly 124 percent.

General fund revenues will increase $670,000 or 6.3 percent to more than $11 million. The city will use $1.1 million from its fund balance or rainy day fund to support the general fund.

The city’s total budget, including the $12.5 million general fund, is about $25 million, down a half percent over last year. That includes $5.8 million for water and sewer; $1.9 million for streets; $690,000 for capital improvements; $1.4 million for golf and recreation; $1.2 million for healthcare for active and retired employees; and $655,000 for the motor pool, among other items.

“Gas tax revenues from the state are projected to increase from $38,000 to $1.3 million,” Booth said. “Road funding includes $696,000 for capital outlay; $684,000 for general maintenance and $374,000 for winter maintenance.”

If the winter is again unusually mild, much of that money will not be used, Booth said.

The city is planning to spend $3.8 million on capital projects, including $975,000 in water and sewer improvements; $480,000 is targeted for Veteran’s Park; and $650,000 in road repairs for Colorado and Georgia streets.

The council approved the budget by a vote of 6-0. Council member Dave Barber was absent.

“We are in good shape,” said Fernandez. “We are healthy.”

Jim Bloch is a freelance writer based in St. Clair, Michigan. Contact him at bloch.jim@gmail.com. 

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