Bronson council adopts higher tax rate

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By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

Bronson residents will see an increase in taxes next fiscal year, but only enough to cover the difference in what the town would have lost thanks to falling property values.

The town council voted unanimously Monday to adopt a property tax rate of 3.89 mills, a roll back rate up from the current rate of 3.65 mills.

A mill is equal to $1 of every $1000 of assessed property value, so, with the new rate, a Bronson taxpayer owning property assessed at $100,000 would owe about $390 in taxes.

The tax rate, down from the initial 4.88 mills on the Truth in Millage report, is expected to bring in about $127,000 in ad valorem revenue for the town. 

Ever-falling property values would have resulted in a loss of several thousand dollars had the current rate again been adopted, according to town staff at the first budget meeting two weeks ago.

At that meeting, Council Member Berlon Weeks, responding to suggestions to drop the rate, said Bronson officials should consider going up a bit to prevent the future necessity of having to "go sky high" with property taxes, which are, traditionally, a municipality's chief source of revenue.

"Yeah, you don't want to find yourself in a 'Oh, no, I'm in a deficit,'" said Town Clerk Kelli Brettel at that meeting.

The council also unanimously agreed Monday night on the town's budget for the upcoming year. 

The town's operating budget — revenue and expenses — for the upcoming fiscal year is $1,442,079, which is a 21.68 percent decrease from the previous year, according to town staff.


In other matters:


• Council Member Beatrice Roberts' residency was called into question by Council Member Weeks during a public comment period where Bronson resident Mary Tracy, not scheduled on the agenda and claiming to be a personal friend of Roberts, asked what Weeks had meant by some of his statements in a recent radio interview.

Specifically, Weeks, Tracy said, made mention that one of Bronson's problems was "wrongly elected officials."

"The rumor I've heard is that Mrs. Roberts has lived in Rauley since September of last year," Weeks told Tracy, adding that people around town have been repeatedly asking him about where Roberts lives.

"I still have my home in Bronson," Roberts later responded, explaining that she pays taxes and bills in Bronson and spends about 80 percent of her time there. The other 20 percent, she said, is "my business."



Bronson council members unanimously adopted four town policy updates, matters the town's auditor had requested town official's address.

The updates are comprised of policies on solid waste procedures, utility bill collections, a long-awaited list of capitol assets and a procurement policy.

Council Member Beatrice Roberts asked that the utility bill collections policy have something that addresses water leaks that are fixed by property owners, who don't have receipts proving the problem was fixed.

Council Member Berlon Weeks asked that the procurement policy have within it a purchase order system that would allow town officials to track purchases.