Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Brighton plans to raise max tax levy
Proposed increase goes from under 2% to over 5% after state tax change
BRIGHTON — Brighton City Council members said they would need to raise taxes more than they’d hoped to, after the Iowa Legislature approved a recalculation for property valuations last month.
City Council Member Cathy Rich said the new figures would leave the city short on cash unless it raised the levy by roughly three percentage points.
"If we used the new valuations, that would reduce the amount of revenue coming in by almost $3,200,“ she said. ”We were hoping to levy $133,209 … I do believe we can still levy for that total amount, we just need to increase one of our optional levies to make up the difference.“
The city has until April 30 to finalize its decision. If it goes through, Rich said the max tax levy would go from the 1.89% increase initially proposed to a 5.065% increase. That would bring the maximum levy in 2024 up to $10.9283 per thousand, up from $10.4014 per $1,000.
If the city doesn’t make that change, its revenue would take a hit.
According to a valuation report from the Washington County Auditor’s Office, Brighton’s valuations dropped from about $12.57 million to just under $12.19 million as a result of the legislation, titled Senate File 181. That’s a sizable difference for the city of 600, with municipal officials saying the original budget plan left the city just $14 away from going into the red.
A memo from the Iowa Department of Management to the city said it was legal to raise the levy at this point in the process to ensure revenue projections were met, despite previous public notices showing a smaller increase in taxes.
“SF 181 reduced the taxable valuation available to be taxed against, so tax dollars requested will either be allowed to remain the same as published or will be forced to decrease due to maximum rate caps,” an email from the department said. “If your property tax rate must increase over what was published … to generate the same dollars published on the notice, this will be allowed.”