By Julie Ann Madden
For the first time in more than a decade, Akron has a lower tax rate.
“We dropped our tax rate almost 2 percent,” Akron City Administrator Dan Rolfes told councilors at their Feb. 28 meeting.
In looking at the county’s FY 2017 Tax Rolls, Akron had the highest tax rate of all Plymouth County cities.
“That was something we wanted to address,” he said, noting it’ll be the lowest since FY 2004.
We were able to reduce it because there are no major improvement projects this year and we decided to use cash reserves for this summer’s one project and to pay employee benefits, he said. We also consolidated the city’s debt, which lowered the annual debt payment.
“We put an emphasis on getting our tax rate down to be competitive with our neighboring towns in Plymouth County,” said Rolfes. “Next year the challenge will be to keep it that low which is something we want to accomplish.”
At the budget hearing, Akron Public Library Board President Mindy Smykle addressed the council, saying the library budget had been cut $15,000 in FY 2017 and was being cut again.
However, City Clerk Melea Nielsen reported the library was the only department which requested a 3 percent across-the-board increase. The council’s Finance Committee scaled that back but everything requested was funded.
In 2022 or 2023, some Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) levies will expire, said Rolfes. The city will lose an additional $120,000 annually. All departments will help make up this loss.
“Being on the Finance Committee with (Councilor Gerry Stowers), we are going to try to make those adjustments to make our town more attractive,” said Councilor Alan Pick. “I can’t thank (Rolfes and Nielsen) enough for going through this with a fine-tooth comb and trying to find every way we can to make that happen.”