RISING SUN — Town officials plan to maintain the property tax rate another year; a move that will only increase revenue by $25,290.
At a May 25 public hearing Rising Sun will spell out its plans for Fiscal Year 2022, which includes seeking grant money to help the town with its MS4 requirements. This Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System is basically the wastewater equivalent of forcing towns like Rising Sun to lower its carbon footprint. This unfunded mandate requires Rising Sun to spend $1.8 million to get to a 25 percent reduction by 2025.
Rising Sun plans to keep the constant yield rate of 46 cents per hundred dollars of assessed value.
Even though the value of real estate in town is starting to improve, Bonenberger said that has its limits.
“We only bring it $980,000 in real estate taxes,” he said. “That’s where it has to come from. It can’t come from water and sewer.”
He told the mayor and commissioners at the Tuesday night town meeting that Rising Sun’s property values increased 8%, up to $204,266,876.
Rising Sun, like every other town deemed to be an “urbanized area” by the US EPA, has few options to pay for its MS4 certification.
“We can either wait or get a grant or throw ourselves at the mercy of the court,” he said. “We’re opting to divide that $1.8 million into 4 to 5 bites.”
Bonenberger said the town puts money in reserves for future and emergency needs such as the replacement of a police car or paving of roads, and finances these projects at low interest rates.
“By financing it, as one loan gets paid off we replace it with another,” he said. He calls it smart business.
Also, he said the town has improved its image with the state, which goes a long way when financial assistance is needed.
“We spend money on little things that make people want to invest in the town,” he said. “If you show you are making a good faith effort the state is more willing to help you out.”