A new study finds tighter budgets for Wisconsin town governments. Wisconsin Policy Forum Research Director Jason Stein says towns reliance on local property taxes has grown in recent decades as state aid has slowed.

“Towns have had certainly seen a real significant loss in a form of state aid, known as shared revenue,” Stein said.

“What you’ve seen with town budgets is over the last generation they’ve become more dependent on both property taxes and bar are willing to . . . provide the limited range of services that towns provide, which is . . . typically . . . their core function is, is roads.”

Borrowing is at record levels as towns face road maintenance and emergency services staffing challenges. “There’s just been a challenge for towns to find adequate staffing for their fire and EMS departments to be able to meet demand.”

Stein said the share of towns overall budgets that go to roads has diminished over time, as spending on items like debt payments have risen.

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