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Here’s where public safety referendums passed on Milwaukee’s North Shore

In World
April 03, 2024

Port Washington, Cedarburg, Grafton and Saukville on Tuesday, April 2, joined the growing number of Wisconsin municipalities where voters have approved tax increases to expand funding for public safety.

In all four suburbs, a majority of voters answered “yes” to questions asking whether to raise taxes to hire more firefighters and paramedics.

Officials in these suburbs have said more personnel is necessary to manage the growing demands facing local fire and emergency medical service departments.

Over the last decade, fire and EMS entities around Southeast Wisconsin have faced a rising volume of service calls, staffing struggles and cost increases.

Port Washington’s public safety referendum passed by a wide margin

Cedarburg’s public safety referendum passes both town and city easily

  • City of Cedarburg: Yes votes took 66.76% of the votes (2,362 total); No votes took 33.24% of the votes (1,176 total).

  • Town of Cedarburg: Yes votes took 66.76% of the votes (2,362 total); No votes took 33.24% of the votes (1,176 total).

Grafton and Saukville’s joint referendum received majority ‘yes’ votes across the areas’ three municipalities

  • Village of Grafton: Yes votes took 67.09% of the votes (2,463 total); No votes took 32.91% of the votes (1,208 total).

  • Town of Grafton: Yes votes took 61.85% of the votes (947 total); No votes took 38.15% of the votes (584 total).

  • Town of Saukville: Yes votes took 54.01% of the votes (350 total); No votes took 45.99% of the votes (298 total).

Election Day live updates Wisconsin spring election live updates tonight: Biden, Trump secure victories in Wisconsin primaries, election results

Statewide election results 2024 Wisconsin Primary Election Results

How will property taxes change in each suburb?

In Port Washington, property taxes will increase by $1.175 million for the next fiscal year and in each year going forward, which will help the city hire six additional full-time positions and keep three existing full-time positions, currently being funded through American Rescue Plan Act funds from the city and county. City officials have said that funding will soon be depleted.

According to a Dec. 20 release from the city announcing the referendum, Port Washington residents will see a tax increase of around $91 annually — about $1.75 per week — per $100,000 of assessed value on a home.

The City of Cedarburg is in a similar position; the approved $1.292 million will add eight and maintain two full-time firefighter-paramedics. For the town, the total tax increase is $723,256, according to the city’s website. However, Cedarburg’s referendum also declares the fire chief position a full-time role.

In the City of Cedarburg, residents’ property taxes will increase by $67.82 per $100,000 in assessed property value. The median price of a home in the City of Cedarburg is $390,000, which would translate to a $264.51 tax increase.

In the Town of Cedarburg, the property tax increase is $57 per $100,000 in assessed property value. The median price of a home in the town is $485,000, which would see a tax increase of $276.86.

Voters in Grafton and Saukville approved tax increases that will allow their fire department to add 13 new full-time fire and EMS positions. The town of Grafton will see an increase of $372,435, while the village of Grafton will see a $1,478,072 increase. The town of Saukville will see an increase of $1,478,072.

Property taxes in the Village of Grafton will increase by $94.66 for every $100,000 of assessed value, according to a fact sheet on the village’s website. Homeowners in the Town of Grafton will see an increase of $52.15, and those in the Town of Saukville will pay $65.10 more.

Other fire departments across Southeast Wisconsin have faced similar predicaments, including the seven municipalities north of Milwaukee served by North Shore Fire and Rescue. Germantown voters also passed a similar public safety referendum.

Voters across the state have been faced with questions of whether to raise property taxes to fund public safety services with increasing frequency, according to the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum.

Local election results Milwaukee area election results

Contact Claudia Levens at [email protected]. Follow her on X at @levensc13

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Port Washington, Cedarburg, Grafton OK public safety referendums

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