Merrill City Council Finds Error, Taxpayers Off the Hook

Merrill residents had feared a 14 percent increase on property tax bills that was projected last week, but after tonight's city council meeting.

The board is on the path to balance the 2014 budget, without the huge increase.

After last week's scare of a large property tax increase, they found an error.

That, along with making some cuts to the budget, means a zero percent tax increase for property owners.

"I think all of us in the last week got stopped on the street and got phone calls from people saying, 'Wait a minute... What are these percentages? How are my taxes and my water bill going up?" Merrill 8th Ward Alder Person Anne Caylor said.

However that's not needed anymore after they found an error in the budget..

Plus, on Tuesday, the council found some common ground on a few things in the budget that can be cut like street lights and engineering costs.

"When reviewing the debt service information, I realized that this weekend that I didn't zero off one that was paid off as of Nov. 1," Merrill Finance Director Kathy Unertl said. "That was about $240,000."

"We found a way to give the people a zero percent increase in the budget," Merrill Council President Steve Hass said. "Even though it comes out of our general funding, it'll be a zero increase for the Merrill tax payers."

Even if the zero percent increase is approved, some members of the city council said that Merrill still has one of the highest tax rates in the state.

The council is scheduled to vote on the final budget next week, where the public is welcome to speak in hearing.

For more on the meeting numbers and information, visit the link:

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