Possible property tax increase in Dubuque? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Possible property tax increase in Dubuque?

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Candle Ready Cakes has been in business in downtown Dubuque for three successful years now, but a possible tax increase might hurt their bottom line.

"We'll either have to suffer the loss, or figure something to do about it," said co-owner Beth Schrempf.

The City of Dubuque is working on  fiscal year 2017 budget, and city manager Mike Van Milligen recommended increasing taxes for commercial properties by 11.7 percent.

The co-owner at Candle Ready Cakes says costs of maintaining a business are already high in Dubuque. "Commercial property is high in Dubuque to rent, and I think that no matter what they do, it's gonna be passed down to the local business owners and I think small business owners are gonna be affected by it," she said.

Fortunately for small business owners, the city council rejected that nearly 12 percent hike -- and the city is now considering lower increases.

One target is 9.5 percent -- the other 10.91 percent.

Both scenarios include budget cuts.  That means the city would have to find a way to cut hundreds of thousands of dollars.

As for homeowners, the increases are less. One target is 1.5 percent, another 0.22 percent.

Milligen says these increases are needed because of rising healthcare costs. He added health insurance expenses will increase  27 percent for the city next fiscal year.

But business owners say they understand that too.  "Healthcare is expensive, as for a small business it's very expense," said Schrempf.

All of this is still being worked on.  Milligen plans on submitting a new budget recommendation by  February 1st. 

City of Dubuque must have a new budget by March 1st.

If there is a property tax increase, owners won't see it until fall when their bill goes out.

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