Petersburg Pilot -

Assembly to review property tax change procedures


The Petersburg Borough Assembly might consider initiating a change in the mill rate for some property owners living in more remotes area.

Mike Woodworth brought up the issue during a public comment period during Monday’s Borough Assembly meeting.

Woodworth is a property owner at Frederick Point East which lies within old city limits, now known as service area one and is taxed at ten mills instead of four mills—the tax rate outside of service area one.

“Right now what it’s created is kind of a bitter pill for me because I’m also a homeowner at the Fur Farm, which is almost outside the old city limits,” Woodworth said. “I pay full mill at both these places yet people almost a stones throw from the Fur Farm pay four mill and they’ve got all the services that I’ve got at the fur farm. I would like to ask you, if you agree, maybe you could structure this a little more justly.”

Assembly member Jeigh Stanton Gregor said he’s wrestled with the same issue and asked Woodworth what he suggests.

Woodworth said the mill rate should decrease based on proportional services provided.

“When the services start disappearing and you’re further out the mill rate should go down,” Woodworth said. “It’s that simple. That’s what I’d do.”

He suggested the mill rate should taper down from Scow Bay to the Crystal Lake Hatchery

“People that are remote, Frederick Point East even though it’s on the island, is every bit as remote as almost leaving the island and going to Thomas Bay or something and yet I get to pay the full mill rate,” Woodworth said. “I doubt I’ll ever see a service in my lifetime for it. “

Woodworth asked the assembly to put the question on the ballot.

Petersburg Borough Manager Steve Giesbrecht is gathering information about the current tax structure and will send it to the assembly for review and members will decide whether or not to take action.

In order for anyone living in Frederick Point East to change the millage rate, the area would have to become a separate service area or change the boundaries, which would take voter approval. They would also be subject to debt service millage—a total millage of 6.27.

Creating a new service area would include developing a list of services that would be provided and establish new boundaries.

The second option would be to reduce the service area.

 “This is the harder option and would involve getting the majority of voters in Service Area 1, minus Frederick Point East, to approve changing the boundaries of the existing Service Area 1,” Giesbrecht said.  “This option also requires the majority of voters within Frederick Point East to approve the change as well.”

This year’s total taxable assessed value minus exemptions was certified at $312,068,326.

Assembly member Kurt Wohlhueter asked Petersburg Borough Finance Director Jody Tow if property taxes were going up relative to this year’s budget.

“If the budget stays the same, as it is right now, if it’s approved in the third reading and nothing else changes with the state or anything it will basically keep the mill rate the same,” Tow said. “It went up $646,000. This is less than one percent.”

2015 Millage Rate for Service Area 1   11.18

Broken down as follows:

General Purposes and School: 8.91 mills

Annual Bond Debt Payment

Aquatic Center  .76

School Def. Maintenance Bond .29

Library .40

Voc. Ed. Building .13

Assisted Living .69

Current Millage Rate for outside Service Area 1 = 4.0 mils. 

The Petersburg Borough collected $3.1 million in property taxes in 2015.


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