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Houston County levy increase reduced to below 2 percent



Property taxpayers in Houston County will get a much smaller tax increase than expected, following a vote by the county board.

County administrator Jeff Babinski said commissioners agreed Wednesday to a 1.9 percent tax levy increase, or a $5 hike per parcel of land, which could mean a $35 increase for people who pay county taxes.

Babinski said union negotiations and other factors delayed a final vote on the levy until now.

“The new construction and stuff wasn’t applied when it should have been, to those values,” Babinski said. “So, some of those numbers are catching up to people now, and they’ve been lower in the past for some of those folks.”

Babinski said the original plan was for an increase of almost 7 percent, but some budget cuts and use of reserve funds helped bring down the levy amount.

Under the roughly 2 percent increase, the average Houston County taxpayer could pay about $35 more in property taxes next year.

Babinski added that, depending on where somebody lives in the county, that person’s total tax burden will vary.

“There’s the municipality they belong to,” he said. “There’s the school district they fall under and then the county. All those things kind of roll into it.”

The La Crescent city council voted this month to lower the city tax levy by an average of $23.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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