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About Your Tax Bill

A Look at Where Our Money Goes

Property owners in Hudson are now looking at the deadline next week for the first installment of their 2012 real estate tax bills, mailed out the week before Christmas.  They were, for many, not a reason for seasonal rejoicing.  Increases in both county taxes and school taxes have resulted in a higher tax bill for many.  The city of Hudson, though, is not one of the reasons for hefting a larger tax burden; the city tax levy has remained essentially unchanged from last year.

This is good news for taxpayers, but it’s also sobering news for a city that wishes to continue to make progress into the future, and is trying to do so armed with only the same resources as in the past.  In the face of continually rising increases in the cost of living, each year the dollar becomes slightly less valuable; and if you have roughly the same number of dollars as you did in the past, then you’re going to have difficulty moving forward.

The decision to not raise taxes is not necessarily easy, but neither is it very difficult.  All it takes is for four of the six representatives on the city council to agree that the budget total will remain unchanged, or close to it, and you’re done.  The difficult part is deciding, after reviewing the areas that have increased costs almost every year -  insurance is a prime candidate here - which areas are going to suffer cuts that will balance those increases.  The really difficult part is making sure that those cuts don’t harm the city’s delivery of services and safety to its residents.  

Hudson has enjoyed for several years now a reputation for delivering city services at a low cost to the taxpayer.  The research organization Red Cedar Research has found Hudson to often be among the top five penny-pinchers all of all cities in western Wisconsin.  Again, this is either good or bad, depending on your view of the transforming (or stagnating) effect on the city.

With this reputation for watching the cash flow, you’d think that our city council has annually turned over every rock and examined every expense, in order to keep our tax burden as low as possible.  You’d be justified in thinking this, if it were actually so, but it may not be.  Tomorrow we’ll look at one case in point.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

mary yacoub January 23, 2013 at 12:34 PM
Scot. I can't figure out if you are stating this is a positive or a negative. I assume you are speaking negative. First, the council voted 6-0 to pass the budget this year. 2nd you campaigned saying your record was the most fiscally conservative. So does that mean you chose not to look towards a future vision for Hudson. 3rd in an economy where people can not afford an increase in their tax bill I think it was more than responsible for the City to control spending. We did thus and did not cut services. Also we raised the levy as much as the State allowed. Come on Scot. You know as well as anyone that we work very hard to provide the residents with the best City. After all you have called it home for many years. We have had 2 new restaurants open, 2 yogurt places, Walgreens, uline is coming in along with other businesses in the cities business park. Have you noticed the expansion to the hospital. All of this is because these business see Hudson for the jewel that it is. These places also aide in paying taxes to allow us keep residential property taxes lower. Let's not try and say we are not moving forward when it is quite obvious we are.
yomammy January 23, 2013 at 01:00 PM
Tax and spend. Demo way.
Chadwick January 23, 2013 at 03:39 PM
Nice rebuttal Mary. I am interested to see if Scot actually has another area where we could save money. Scot, even if services or products become more expensive in multiple areas you can still become more efficient in other areas to compensate for this and keep your budget at the same level. Technology is just one example where most of the costs continue to decrease.
yomammy January 24, 2013 at 01:42 PM
Technology cost may decrease (slightly) but you are always needing replacments and more of it overall.

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