By Tom Tolen\

The city of Brighton will be required to institute a Headlee rollback this year, and that means the city will not be able to generate as much revenue from local taxes as it would without the rollback. The bottom line is the city will lose about $225,000 in tax revenues in the 2020 fiscal year, which starts July 1. The good news is that property taxes are rising in the city, and that is forcing the rollback. Consequently, the city will have to either make some well-considered cuts in budget line items or find new funding sources to make up for the lost revenue.

City Manager Nate Geinzer says currently, the city of Brighton levies 15.2627 mills for operations, not including the police millage and the new street millage, which went into effect this year. But with the expected rollback, the levy will go down to 15.0048 mills. That figure is currently tentative, but according to Finance Director Gretchen Gomolka, it’s the figure expected to be approved by the county. Headlee rollbacks are triggered when a community levies an increase in taxes that is higher than 5% or the inflation rate. The local unit of government is required under the Headlee tax limitation amendment to the state constitution to limit property tax increases to the lower figure of 5% or the inflation rate.

Since the cost-of-living increase in the past year was 2.8% - which is far less than 5% - the city is being forced to enact the rollback. However, the city will still be able to collect 2.48 mills from the 7-year street millage which was passed by voters in May of last year, resulting in a projected $1.18 million in revenues for street improvements. Geinzer says the City Council will have a series of budget workshops in the coming weeks to discuss the impact of the coming Headlee rollback and its effect on the city budget for the coming fiscal year. Geinzer will present his budget recommendations to council at the April 2 meeting and the budget workshops will be held on April 7 and 9.The city charter requires that the budget be adopted by the second Monday in May.