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Franklin approaches tax base goal

Dec. 29, 2013

Franklin — In order to meet its desired 70-30 tax base ratio — 70 percent of the tax base being residential properties and 30 percent commercial — the city may need to consider development of new business parks, city officials said Dec. 19.

The 70-30 goal was approved by the Common Council in 2005 to lighted the tax burden on residential properties within the Franklin School District by collecting more tax dollars from business properties.

An updated review of the 70-30 goal was presented during the Community Development Authority meeting Dec. 19.

Assessed valuations for 2013 indicate the city is the closest it has been to meeting the ratio goal, with about $2.5 billion in taxes (75.2 percent) being paid by residential property owners and $833 million (24.8 percent) by commercial property owners.

Mayor Tom Taylor called the information "tremendous news."

"This really is the No. 1 thing we've been trying to achieve as an elected body," Taylor said. "I feel a sense of accomplishment, (and) I feel that we're going in the right direction here."

The current 75-25 ratio is a leap from when the goal was first approved in 2005, when the city was seeing an 80-20 ratio.

Paul Rotzenberg, director of finance and city treasurer, said the improved tax base ratio is due to the re-evaluation of properties within the city and increased development in the area.

"I think the enhancement and the growth of the city are on target, and I think we'll achieve those (goals) in the very near future," Alderman Ken Skowronski said.

The review listed multifamily homes as residential property, but excluded other properties that were tax-exempt.

Several meetings were held by the Plan Commission and the task force for the Comprehensive Master Plan to discuss methods about how to reach the 70-30 ratio. The groups agreed that in order to meet the goal, a new business park may be necessary.

"We never reached a final decision, and we never crunched any numbers, but I think it was the general consensus that (Franklin would need) at least one brand new business park," Planning Manager Joel Dietl said. "And to be on the safe side, (we should) maximize existing zoned commercial lands as an extra measure."

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