Now that Gluckstadt has official municipal power, they will begin setting up their tax system.
According to Mayor Walter Morrison, soon the city will put out a public notice welcoming residents to the first meeting with the mayor and the board of aldermen. One of their first orders of business will be to start setting up the tax system. Deciding the millage rate is the first step. The millage rate decides how much in taxes citizens will pay.
Mayor Morrison says that the millage rate will likely be decided in the first two meetings with the board of aldermen, because it is vital for the city to get the tax system set up.
According to Norman Cannady, the Madison County Tax Assessor, his office is currently assessing the value of the property and private vehicles in the city limits.
Once the assessment is finished, that number is given to the mayor and the board of aldermen, who will use this to create a millage rate. After the board decides the millage rate, they write a letter, signed by the mayor, and send it to Kay Pace, the tax collector. She makes the millage rate official by changing Gluckstadt to a city tax district rather than a county tax district. The citizens in Gluckstadt will still pay county taxes, as well as the city.
Once the millage rate and city limits are made official, an estimate of how much revenue is generated and then used to create a budget for the city.
According to attorney John Scanlon, who represented Gluckstadt in their incorporation trial, the city presented a hypothetical budget during their testimony if they were incorporated and could use the same one.
That budget suggests a millage rate of 12 mills be levied on the citizens of Gluckstadt in their first incorporated fiscal year. Compared to Madison, who levies 28.8 mills, this is relatively small.
With a millage rate of 12, they expect to generate over two million dollars in revenue for the city. That revenue comes from Ad Valorem taxes, the tax collector’s fee, licenses and permits, federal grants, sales tax diversions, and fines. The total comes to an exact number: $2,409,745.
Setting up the city in the first year is expected to cost $2,170,307. The general government, which includes the city administration, will cost over $700,000. The mayor and the board members have all decided to go without a salary for their first two years to help keep expenses low.
Other expenses include planning, zoning and building, a police department, a fire department—which will not cost anything because the county’s department is sufficient, a municipal court, and a public works department.
The city won’t actually have a public works department for the first two years either, and the money dedicated to public works expenses will cover the cost for Gluckstadt’s electricity provider to install light poles around the city.
According to the city officials, it will be around three months after their first meeting before the tax system is fully set up and citizens are paying their taxes.