While a budget is much more than just numbers and a financial statement, finances are the heart of any budget. The 2020 budget, which you can read here, brings a reduction of our equalized tax rate for the sixth straight year and new assessments which have lowered the assessed tax rate by over a dollar as well.
With the change in assessments, everyone should know that this budget will not collect even a single dollar more in property taxes this year. In fact, the tax levy is actually slightly lower than 2019. This is in large part due to the closure of one of the City's TIF districts, proving that investments such as these pay off in the long run, bringing millions of dollars of new tax base to Menasha. In addition, the City continues to pay off debt. Our debt is 35% lower than in 2011 (over $15 million) as of today. Even with decreased funding and new mandates from the State, Menasha's finances continue to move in a positive direction.
With a February premier, we will get our chance to show off all that Menasha has to offer with the airing of our version of Around the Corner, a PBS documentary on Wisconsin cities. Menasha is an integral part of what makes the Fox Cities such a desirable place to live, and our City budget is a statement of the values that we have as a city, community and region.
Aligning with previous years, this budget plans for continued investment in our roadways and sidewalks of nearly $1,500,000, more than $600,000 in equipment replacement, and nearly $750,000 in upgrades and improvements to our parks, trails, and marina. In addition, in 2020 we will break ground on a new Public Works Facility to replace the currently outdated 1960’s facility.
Following the successful completion of the country's largest Rock the Block in 2019, we will continue to invest in neighborhoods and quality of life with our Strong Neighborhoods Program. This program will offer forgivable loans and grants to improve housing quality, encourage longevity, and build community pride.
This budget continues to embrace the values of Menasha residents, provide the services we expect and offers strategic opportunities to improve our quality of life within a framework that supports both our residents and employees. With good planning we were able to provide for these measures without increasing our tax levy at all from 2019. You can expect to see a reduction of approx. $25 on the City portion of your tax bill for a home valued at $150,000. With the adoption of this budget we will continue building upon our successes with a vision for the future.