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Ottawa real estate tax rises almost 9 percent

City responds to actuarial changes regarding pensions

Property owners in Ottawa can expect a heftier tax bill on the horizon.

The Ottawa City Council announced it will request $526,000 more than was asked for last year on the tax levy.

Commissioner Wayne Eichelkraut said the increase is required to keep the city on track to have its police and fire department pensions 90 percent funded by 2040, as is required by state law.

“The state changed their actuary and made some changes in how they calculate this,” Eichelkraut said.

“We were on track but they’ve made some changes with a different actuary, and he made some changes,” Eichelkraut added.

Of the $526,000 being added, $436,000 of that will be going toward the pensions.

The city is requesting $6,286,000, which will even out to $29.41 more in real estate taxes for a homeowner with a $100,000 home, according to Eichelkraut.

“We take any tax increases very seriously, and we do whatever we can to reduce any request. However, we’re required to prorate funds for our obligations,” Eichelkraut said.

City Treasurer Don Harris noted the city’s equalized assessed valuation has increased 4.2 percent, which mitigates some of the burden on taxpayers, and the city further lessened the impact by paying debt service on $2.485 million in taxable general obligation bonds.

“We’re certainly not alone as municipalities in addressing this as the change is across all municipalities,” Harris said. “We’re doing everything we can to keep those numbers as low as possible."

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