Why do we need a referendum to raise the tax levy limit?

The state of Wisconsin limits the amount of property taxes counties and other local municipalities can collect each year. In order to exceed the levy limit to help fund important services, local governments need voter approval through a referendum. County levy limits in Wisconsin went into effect in 2005. In 2023, St. Croix County went to referendum for the first time in 18 years to ask for an increase to the tax levy.

Each year the County’s budget increases based off the net new construction. Our current growth has allowed our budget to increase on average 2% each year. While this has allowed us to address some priorities and offset some inflationary pressures, it has not been enough to keep up with the demand for our public safety services.

Net new construction refers to the increase in the assessed value of only new or improved property. When new buildings are constructed or existing buildings are improved, the assessed value of the property usually increases. It's important to note that not all new construction counts toward net new construction. For example, construction of exempt properties such as churches, schools, and government buildings are not included in the calculation of net new construction.

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1. What is the proposed public safety referendum on the ballot?
2. What will appear on the ballot?
3. What will it mean if a majority of voters vote “yes”?
4. What does it mean if a majority vote “no” and the referendum fails?
5. What is the cost per household?
6. Would this increase be permanent?
7. Why do we need a referendum to raise the tax levy limit?
8. If approved, when will the tax levy increase go into effect and how soon will these positions be available?
9. If we have a growing population adding more taxpayers, why do we need to increase the tax levy through referendum?
10. Where do I find voting information?