On July 13, Marathon City Council set the preliminary tax rate and, for the first time in four years, proposed to raise the ad valorem taxes on homes. The tax rate is going to 2.77 mills. Previously, homeowners and property owners in Marathon paid $11.88 per $100,000 value of their homes and the new rate is proposed to be $29.88 per $100,000 of value. Owners of homesteaded properties will only see their tax rates raised by 3% or less.

While the tax rate can be lowered at subsequent meetings to discuss the budget, it can not go higher. Meets are set for Sept. 9 at 5:05 p.m. and Sept. 14 at 5:05 p.m., both at Marathon City Hall.  

As proposed, the tax rate would raise $8.3 million for the general fund, up from $7.3 million last year. The city’s operating budget is about $14.5 million. The city of Marathon has 10 months of operating expenses in a reserve fund, to be used in case of an emergency like a hurricane. 

At the same meeting, the council voted to increase vacation rental fees. Going forward, new license fees begin at $1,000 (up from $750) for a one-bedroom home and renewal fees are $650 (up from $500) for a one-bedroom home. New and renewal fees are higher for larger vacation rental homes, maxing out at $1,200 for a new license for a four- or more bedroom home or $850 for a renewal of license renewal a property with four or more bedrooms.

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Sara Matthis thinks community journalism is important, but not serious; likes weird and wonderful children (she has two); and occasionally tortures herself with sprint-distance triathlons, but only if she has a good chance of beating her sister.