Albion village approves budget with 2.5% tax increase

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 May 2023 at 3:18 pm

Assessed value for plaza at 318 West Ave. drops about $1 million

ALBION – The Albion Village Board approved a $7.5 million village budget for 2023-24 that will increase property taxes by 2.5 percent.

The village will collect $2,923,473 with the tax levy, up 2.5 percent from the $2,851,056 in the 2022-23 budget.

The tax rate will increase by 3.6 percent of 67 cents per $1,000 of assessed property, from $18.46 to $19.13.

The tax rate increase was higher than the levy as a percent because the village’s overall assessed value dropped by 1.08 percent or by $1,663,794 – down from $154,457,302 to $152,723,508. Most of the loss in tax base was from the assessed value be lowered at the plaza at 318 West Ave. That plaza includes Save-A-Lot, Pro Hardware, Dollar Tree and the vacant spot formerly for Gordman’s.

That value for the site has been reduced from $1,856,300 to $816,000 as part of a settlement between the Town of Albion and the owner, A & D Properties (Westwood Financial). As part of the agreement the village and taxing entities don’t have to pay back funds collected while the issue was in dispute.

“Our assessments went down by a lot and that really hurt our budget,” said Tracy Van Skiver, the village’s clerk-treasurer.

The budget was approved by the board unanimously on Friday.

The total budget is at $7,543,375, a $390,198 increase or up by 5.45 percent from the $7,153,177 in 2022-23.

The budget includes $4,307,602 in the general fund ($4,106,279 in 2022-23); $1,880,984 in the water fund ($1,797,521 in 2022-23); and $1,354,788 in the sewer fund ($1,249,377 in 2022-23).

The spending plan includes 2.0 percent raises for department heads; 2.5 percent for employees in the DPW, clerks, cemetery, sewer and water department; and 3.0 percent for police officers.

The budget includes the fire department, but the village is talking with the towns of Albion and Gaines about establishing a fire district which would take the fire department out of the village budget, possibly starting in 2024-25. If that happens, there would be a separate fire district tax for village taxpayers. The village tax rate would then likely be lower but there would be the other fire district charge.