(Posted May 28, 2015)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Earlier this year, London city council started the process for putting a renewal levy on the November ballot. Now, that will not happen.
The backtrack is due to a miscommunication between the county and city auditor’s offices regarding the expiration date for the city’s 2.1-mill property tax for city operating expenses.
“When a levy is going to expire, you have up to three ballot initiatives to pass it. The county auditor’s office traditionally reaches out to local (entities) with expiration reminders,” explained city auditor Katie Hensel.
The county auditor’s office did just that in November last year, informing the city that they could go on the ballot in November 2015 for a first attempt at renewing their property tax levy.
Hensel didn’t realize until recently that the county was talking about the city’s old 1.4-mill fire levy, which the city stopped collecting in 2013, two years before its expiration date, when voters approved a 0.5 percent increase in the city income tax for fire services.
“In my mind, we only had one (property tax) levy—the 2.1-mill—so I hadn’t thought to ask for clarification. It was basically a miscommunication,” Hensel said, noting that she sent a memo to the county in November 2013 explaining that the city was sunsetting the 1.4-mill fire levy at that time and had no intention of renewing it.
The 2.1-mill levy, originally passed in 1968 and renewed continually since then, does not expire until the end of 2017. The first time the city can put the levy up for another renewal is November 2016. Additional attempts are possible, if necessary, in May 2017 and November 2017 before the levy expires.