Forestville Passes $70,000 Levy Increase

A request by the Town of Forestville to raise its tax levy by 53.1 percent – or $70,000 – passed without opposition at the town’s Nov. 17 budget hearing. Only three people showed up for the hearing.

Town Clerk Ruth Kerscher went through the list of the town’s revenues and expenses line by line, and explained that the town exceeded the budget set in 2014 due to what appears to be the two banes of the town – state-imposed levy limits and road work.

Town Board Chair Roy Englebert said the town has 39.4 miles of roads to maintain, and that about 10 miles of those roads are past the point of minor crack filling, meaning they need to be rebuilt with a new layer of asphalt.

“It costs $130,000 to $145,000 to do a mile of road,” Englebert said. “Not long ago it was $60,000, and our levy limits have stayed the same.”

He explained that the town board has been diligent and aggressive about maintaining roads by filling and sealing cracks, thereby expecting to “extend the life of a road eight to 10 years.”

After looking at all the road work needed, Englebert said the board came up with the figure of $69,000 for crack filling in 2016.

“We prefer not to borrow,” he said. “That’s why we recommended a $70,000 increase in the levy.”

That will amount to a tax rate of about $58 per $100,000.

Town Supervisor Jason Tlachac said he recently hit a pothole that ruined a tire. “It cost me $140 to replace the tire, so this is well worth it to me,” he said of the levy hike.

Englebert said every municipality in the state is having the same struggle to balance budgets and maintain roads, and it won’t be resolved until the Legislature takes some action.

“We’ll either have to have smaller farm equipment [for less damage to the roads], or more money for roads,” Englebert said.

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