By Mayor Michael Caldwell
At a time when inflation has impacted every American’s buying power and home prices have skyrocketed, each of us who call Woodstock home owe our City Council a big “thank you!”. Our City is the only local government I know in the state who has chosen not to raise taxes by fully rolling back the millage rate this year. The City Council has chosen to put our families financial health first and their decision is a testament to their commitment to our residents.
What is the “millage rate”? It’s the local property tax rate calculated in “mills”, one-thousandth of a dollar, which translates to $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value. When property values rise, as they’ve certainly done in Woodstock over the past year, and this rate is allowed to remain the same it can lead to higher taxes for property owners. However, a full rollback means that the City Council has chosen to reduce the rate to ensure that the government does not collect more in taxes due to an increase in property values. It requires an active decision not to let this natural tax increase occur, and our City Council rose to the occasion this year. In Woodstock, we are lowering that rate from 5.693 mills to 5.125 mills for the new fiscal year. That’s down from 5.981 mills when I came into office in January 2022, a nearly 15% reduction in the tax rate for our property owners.
This decision is more than just a financial calculation. It's a statement. It tells us that our City Council recognizes the challenges that come with balancing a family budget, the importance of predictability in expenses, and the value of every dollar earned by our residents.
It's also a demonstration of the Council's fiscal responsibility. The choice to forego potential additional revenue shows a commitment to managing the city's finances in a way that prioritizes the needs and well-being of its residents. It’s important that we recognize this impact. It’s impossible to fully rollback the rate every single year, as the buying power of a dollar brought in by the City has been negatively impacted in the same way it has been for our families. Our City Council made a decision to take that difficulty on for the government rather than place it on our families in an uncertain financial year though, and as a taxpayer I am grateful for their leadership.
To the members of the Woodstock City Council: Thank you. Your vote to roll back the millage rate underscores your dedication to our community. It's a choice that reflects thoughtfulness, responsibility, and a genuine desire to serve.
As the 31st Mayor of our city, I am very proud to serve with a team of dedicated elected officials on our City Council who consistently place the families and stakeholders of our city first. I am so grateful to the hundreds of public servants who work for the City of Woodstock and will directly shoulder the burden of meeting the impressive, increasing calls for service in our growing city even while revenues for the coming year remain static. Above all, I am so thankful to each of you for the opportunity to serve you in this role. Thank you as always, and please join me in thanking the members of our City Council for putting our city’s families first.