Sun Prairie residents concerned about tax increases, preparing to leave city
SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — Many Sun Prairie residents have expressed their anger and frustration over tax bills that were received by homeowners last week.
More than 16% increase was made by the school district and some people are seeing an increase in their overall tax bill of “Five hundred dollars to up over $1,000,” according to Brent Eisberner, who has lived in Sun Prairie for the past six years and is running for a seat on common council next year.
Eisberner said since he launched his campaign, he’s heard from a lot of people about how this tax increase is hurting them financially.
“I’ve seen some individuals saying how they plan on moving out of Sun Prairie,” Eisberner said. “There’s a realtor I know who has gotten phone calls recently about people wanting to list their house for sale now because the price in Sun Prairie has become untenable for them to maintain their house.”
The majority of the increase comes from the school district building a new high school.
“We went to referendum in April and passed a $164 million referendum to build the second high school and make other improvements,” said Sun Prairie School District’s director of business and finance Phil Frei. “So that had a big tax impact.”
Frei said 57% of voters voted in favor of this.
But Eisberner said while people wanted the new school, they didn’t necessarily want all the extras that came with it.
“A few individuals I talked with were upset with the new football stadium that’s being proposed as one of the largest and nicest football stadiums for a high school football team when we have a stadium they feel is good enough,” Eisberner said.
Frei said the people who voted in favor of the high school also knew they were voting for everything that came with it.
“The amenities for the high school, for the Ashley Field, that is part of the $164 million,” Frei said. “That was during the referendum, and we presented that information.”
While everyone’s tax bill is different depending on where they live and the value of their property, Eisberner says some people, like seniors on a fixed income, just can’t handle the increase in cost
“With a fixed income, it’s hard to come up with even $300 a year,” Eisberner said. “They need to make life changes they were not expecting to make.”
Frei says he knows the near 16% increase is surprising to some, but said the changes in the district are necessary and a majority of the voters approved for this to happen.
“With that said, there’s still 40% – 42% of people that didn’t support it. We live in a democracy and the referendum passed.”
In a statement, the city of Sun Prairie’s director of administrative services Connie DeKemper said: “Taxes go in large part towards maintaining vital services for our growing population and also go toward enhancing our quality of life. We are working to make the budget a more transparent process with our 10-year capital improvement plan where departments will outline needs and priorities so citizens can better understand the direct impact of their dollar.”
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