The village of Swansea has proposed a slightly larger property tax levy for 2013 to meet state requirements for funding police pensions.
"It's our obligation," explained Trustee Susan O'Malley. "We're required to fund the pensions and that's what we're trying to do. We've really pushed up the police pension fund over the last few years to meet state requirements."
The only levy proposed to go up is the police pension fund. Last year the village levied $585,000 to fund police pensions. For the fiscal year beginning May 1 and ending April 30, 2015, the village plans to levy $733,250 to fund police pensions.
The total property tax levy for the village is proposed as $1,121,505. The last levy was $1,016,361. In 2009, the village levied $821,970 in property taxes.
The increase in the property tax levy is a 15 percent increase over last year. Broken down, that means the owner of a $50,000 home will see an increase of $3.54 in their annual property taxes; the owner of a $125,000 home will see an increase of $11.84; the owner of a $275,000 home will pay $28.45 more than last year and those with a home valued at $350,000 will pay $36.76 more in property taxes.
Property taxes levied by the village are used to raise revenue to fund services for the community such as paying for running the village, funding law enforcement and emergency personnel, maintaining and installing roads, street lights, signage, snow removal and insurance for the village.
"We've tried to hold down general fund spending as much as we can to fund our police and fire pensions as much as we can," O'Malley said.
The fire pension fund is levied at $41,000 and police protection is levied at $34,000. The village's general corporate fund is levied at $49,000. Communities that don't fully fund their police pensions by 2016 face the state stepping in to force the funding of those pensions through the general fund.