On Nov. 6, it’s important to get out and exercise your right to vote. Farmington residents will be asked to vote on a millage proposal allowing City Council to levy up to an additional 3.0 mills in property taxes.
The City of Farmington strives to provide a high level of service at a competitive cost to its residents and businesses. This high level of city services has been maintained even while the cost to residents and businesses in terms of property taxes has fallen on average 18.6 percent over the last 10 years — the source of most of the City’s revenues for both operations and capital improvements comes from property taxes. With the Great Recession, property tax values plummeted, and will not return to previous levels for many years – and that’s IF property values continue to increase. While over the past 10 years the cost of providing City services has risen a modest 0.833 percent per year, our total revenue has increased at only .026 percent per year. As a result, the City’s expenditures now exceed revenue on a yearly basis.
We estimate the average yearly shortfall will be about $450,000 going forward. Once of the significant items that will cause this shortfall is rising pension costs, brought about by the Grand Recession, historically low interest rates, increased longevity of retirees and shorter funding periods. At this rate, the City’s fund balance (savings account) will disappear in five years.
After direction from the community at two community forums the City facilitated in the spring, Council unanimously voted to ask residents for a 3-mill increase on the November ballot. This translates to $3 for every $1,000 of taxable value.
At least half of the millage, if levied by the Council, must be used for Capital Improvements, such as streets and sidewalks, water and sewer lines, parks and park restrooms, bridges, walking trails, bike paths, streetscapes and large apparatus like fire trucks.
The remainder of any amount levied will address General Operating expenditures. This includes public safety, public works, administration, recreation and culture, economic and community development and district court.
The millage would be levied beginning with the 2019 summer tax bill and would expire in 10 years.