Tuesday evening the Culver Town Council conducted a public hearing to reestablish the Cumulative Capital Development (CCD) Fund back to its original rate of .05. 

Clerk-Treasurer Karen Heim introduced the proposal explaining that the town already has the fund, and its current rate is .0427.  State legislation recently made a change for CCD Funds which will allow government agencies to reestablish the rate at the maximum of .05 and that rate will no longer reduce slightly each year.  The Clerk-Treasurer said the last time Culver reestablished the rate was in 2013 or 14.

Heim said in the past this fund has been used for matching grant funds, work on the Beach Lodge, and purchasing the aerial fire truck.

The impact on residential properties will be minimal.  The example given was a $250,000 home would currently pay $106.75 and with the new rate that same home would pay $125.00 an increase of $18.25 a year.  She also gave an example of a $1 million home that currently pays $427.00 and with the new rate they would pay $500.00 an increase of $73 annually. 

The CCD fund raised $95,710 this year for the town on the assessed value.  With the new .05 rate and the current assessed value for this year, the new amount would be $112,073.68. 

During the Public Hearing, three people spoke.  One woman asked what the money is needed for and why is the town doing it now.   She asked if there was a budgeting issue where the town spent money and now they need to raise these additional funds. 

The Clerk-Treasurer explained that the rate is set by the state and the .05 rate is the maximum.  Any increase would require action from the state legislature.  The funds are available for capital improvements the town wants to make.  Some of the funds have been used to purchase air bottles for the fire department and radios.  Heim said several projects are coming up in the Police Department that the funds could be used for instead of doing a bond.  The town would like to build up the funds in the CCD Fund. 

One man asked if there was a reason why the town council wanted to raise the CCD to.05.  The Clerk explained that it is the maximum and the state mandates that it has to be done before governments start working on their next year’s budgets.

Doug Farmer said his research shows the intent of this fund is for public safety.  The clerk explained the CCD Funds can be used for capital development projects.  He wanted to know how the funds would be made available for expenditure and the clerk said they would have to be budgeted just like other funds.  She said some of the funds have been used for the sidewalk program and they have been in discussions of using the funds to purchase a police vehicle. 

Following the public hearing was the first reading of the ordinance to Councilwoman Sally Ricciardi motioned to pass the ordinance to re-establish the CCD Fund rate at .05 and it was seconded by Council Rich West. 

The discussion continued with Councilman Bill Githens saying he was against the idea of re-establishing the fund because of the substantial increase in property taxes this year and because this is an election year. Githens said, “People are hurting and while we live in a resort town, but when your property tax goes up 44% and you are on a fixed income, these things can just wait another year.”    

Councilman Rich West said that the assessed value went up across the board because of the market value of the sale of homes in Culver our tax rate actually went down from 1.74 to 1.67.  The increase is because of the market value of our homes.  Councilman West suggested offering a Property Tax 101 class to educate citizens and encouraged citizens to investigate the various exemptions that are available. 

Councilman Bill Hamm said he won’t vote for the tax increase with the inflation we have right now. He said, “I don’t think it’s fair to people, and I don’t think we absolutely need it.” 

Council President Bill Cleavenger called for a vote and the ordinance passed on first reading 3 to 2 with both Githens and Hamm voting no.  Second and third reading will be considered at the next town meeting.