Step One: Begin with a Budget
The process is similar to how you must budget your paycheck to pay for housing, food and clothing; you need to know where your money is going (expenditures) and how it is coming in (revenues).
First, City departments prepare budget requests that details how much money (revenue) is needed to cover planned expenditures. These requests are submitted to the Finance Department and Mayor for review. The Mayor presents his/her recommended budget to the Finance Committee, usually in October. A public hearing is held on the Finance Committee's recommendation to the Common Council, usually on the 3rd Tuesday of November.
Step Two: Calculate the "Property Tax Levy"
After determining how much revenue Brookfield will receive from the state and other non-property tax sources, we must make up the difference with property taxes. The property tax levy is the total amount of revenue needed from property taxes to cover General Fund expenditures, debt service costs, and other expenses. As Brookfield has high property values, the City receives relatively little in state shared revenues according to the state formulas. The total City tax levy for the 2019 budget (including allocated portion of TIF Districts) was $39,116,394.
Step Three: Calculate the Property Tax Rate
To figure out the property tax rate you must know two things: the tax levy (just explained) and the city's total assessed value. Assessed value is the value of all City of Brookfield properties for tax purposes and is determined by the City Assessor. The City's total assessed value of real and personal property as of January 1, 2018 (assessment date for tax purposes) was approximately $6.931 billion.
How to Calculate the Tax Rate
Tax Levy / Assessed Value = Property Tax Rate
Tax rates are reported per $1,000 of assessed property value; therefore, the local tax rate for December 2018 tax bills (used to fund 2019 budgets) was $5.64.
Step Four: Calculate Your Tax Bill
To calculate the City of Brookfield portion of your tax bill, a tax rate of $5.64 means that for every $1,000 of property you own you are taxed $5.64 for city government services. For example, a Brookfield resident who owns a home assessed at $335,000 paid approximately $1,890 on the December 2018 tax bill (335 x 5.64 = 1,890) for City of Brookfield services such as trash collection, public safety, and parks. This amount does not include costs to educate the community's children or provide judicial and human services. Those services are paid from the Elmbrook or Waukesha School District and Waukesha County portions of your tax bill.
Your Tax Bill: The Big Picture
Your property tax bill adds together the tax levy of five different taxing jurisdictions. These "taxing jurisdictions" are the City of Brookfield, Elmbrook or Waukesha Schools, Waukesha County and Waukesha County Technical College. Click on the following link to see the percentage of your payment going to each taxing jurisdiction, based on December 2018 tax bills, as well as the breakdown of the components of the City tax levy.