• The attendance at the 2013 budget hearing approached an estimated 200 people compared to four people last year. The big issue was the requested levy override of $200,000, which was defeated 98 to 77. The levy without the override passed by a 134 to 37 margin. The town budget will be $1,574,818. Because the town estimated roadwork to be performed in 2014 to exceed $5,000 per mile, statutes require the highway budget be placed to a vote. That amount was $852,098.96 and was defeated by a vote of 86 to 85. Since the 2013 levy was adopted prior to the highway budget, this is part of the approved budget but cannot be spent on roads. The board will schedule a meeting to approve a highway budget. A joint meeting of the board and finance committee will review the highway budget and discuss options. That meeting is open to the public and they are encouraged to attend. It was originally discussed to be held on the 2nd, but that would not allow the 15-day posting requirement from the board’s Nov. 20 meeting.
• The board and finance committee will now begin the process of eliminating an estimated $400,000 from the budget for the next two years. This is the result of the levy cap placed upon municipalities. Liberty Grove has had a cap of zero percent for three years. As the town pays down its principal on two bonds, one for $1.08 million and one for $1.07 million, both of which will be paid off in 2018, and a loan of $46,692, which will be paid off in 2014, the levy cap requires municipalities to reduce taxes as they pay off debt. There is a credit given to increased taxes for new construction but that has not been able to offset the $400,000. Citizens are encouraged to attend the upcoming board and finance meetings to understand the process and cuts that will be needed to meet the $400,000 reduction.
Those who attended the meeting have copies of the budget and copies are available at the town office. I encourage electors to go line by line in the budget and bring their reasons why that particular line item should be reduced and/or stay the same.
Please remember that when considering your suggestions for reducing a particular budget item that it applies and has an impact on all residents of the town. The town website will post dates and times of those meetings as well as the regular posting sites.
• A reminder that the town office will be closed Nov. 28 & 29.
• Regular town board meetings are scheduled for Dec. 4 & 18.
• On behalf of the town board, staff and town crew I would like to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.