Municipal Budget Notes

Town of Baileys Harbor

The town held its budget hearing on Nov. 10.

Town of Brussels

“We’ve got that question of the fire department’s new building,” said Town Chair Joe Wautier. “That would be the only thing, if it’s approved in April or not. It should help like heck, but I have no idea how the people are going to vote. Hopefully, it passes. We need an upgrade. Firemen are getting kind of disgusted because of the conditions they have to work in.”

Brussels held its budget hearing on Nov. 11.

Town of Egg Harbor (Pam Krauel, Town Clerk)

  • No big purchases or changes from last year.
  • Fire Chief Steve Schopf said the fire department incorporated as a nonprofit corporation so they could do fundraising. They are currently raising funds to upgrade a rescue truck they purchased. They did not approach the town for funds because they have other trucks in the fleet that are due for an upgrade or replacement.

Village of Ephraim (Brent Bristol, Village Administrator)

  • Workers compensation insurance will go up because they had a claim after an employee injury required shoulder surgery. The rate will be hiked for the next three years because the insurance company looks at a span of three years when making its rate.
  • New software will mean the budget looks different.
  • Nothing has been included in the budget associated with the streetscape project.

Town of Forestville

The town board is asking its residents to exceed the state’s levy limits and approve a town tax levy increase of 53.1 percent, which would increase the tax levy of $131,772 by $70,000.

“What it is, there just is not enough money to maintain the roads,” said Town Chair Roy Englebert. “We’ve been fighting that for more than 10 years. Every rural township in the State of Wisconsin has that problem. We borrowed from our reserve fund to do what we did this year, but there’s no more money to do that, so we’ve got 22 percent of our roads right now that are no use to fix anymore. We can patch them and keep them safe, but the next step is regrinding them and we don’t have the money to do that, so right now we’re doing crack filling and chip sealing. I’ll present this to voters and it’s up to them to make the decision.

“Another thing happening, after 70, 80 years, our culverts are failing. They rust out. We replaced two culverts this year. They must have been built in 1900. They were old concrete culverts. You have to fix those and those are $500,000 apiece. That’s what we’re facing and all townships are facing the same thing. We had some citizens here last year say, ‘Roy, when are you going to do something?’ Well, here’s what you can do. The other choice a town has is to borrow money, and you really don’t want to borrow money to maintain things.”

The town’s budget hearing will be held at 7 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Village of Forestville

“This year we concentrated on our library hall. We had $25,000 budgeted for improvements there,” said Village President Terry McNulty. “Next year we’re going to concentrate on the park area. We also have two road projects we’re going to try and do. I’m trying to work with the local road improvement program to get some funding for that, too. That’s our big plan.

The village will hold its budget hearing on Dec. 1.

Town of Gardner

“Nothing unusual other than we’re still working on the fire dept. project,” said Town Chair Jon Koch. “Our annual stuff is our concern for our roads and monies to provide for that. Other than that, nothing earth shattering. The fire department has been the big ticket item the last couple years and we’re trying to bring the cost down as much as possible and leave it up to voters after that. It came down about a million and half. We elected not to do any remodeling of the station in Gardner. We were originally going to remodel the existing portion that’s there. We elected not to do that. We’ll put a two-bay addition with storage area. Hopefully in the future add office space and a meeting room on the backside of that. That helped cut the cost down quite a bit. We try to do what we can, but the people still have the final answer.

“We’re tying to get the county to stay on task in keeping the ambulance in southern Door. That would all play into putting the fire station in Brussels near County C and State Highway 57. There is a sunset clause in that resolution, and that would be May 27 of next year. So if people elect not to build [the fire station] this time, then the county’s portion would come off the table. Then we’ll just have to figure out something else. The people wouldn’t be losing ambulance service, they’d just be losing a location closer to people down south.”

Gardner held its budget hearing on Nov. 11.

Town of Gibraltar (Beth Hagen, Town Clerk)

  • Building a new town shop on County Highway F next to the fire station.
  • Applying for a coastal management grant to create a plan for water resources.
  • Continuing work on the waterfront master plan. Any of the master plan considerations will go through the respective commissions. Beach improvements will go through the Parks and Lands committees and Harbor/marina improvements will be in the harbor budget, etc.

Town of Jacksonport

The town board is seeking to exceed the state levy limit in its 2016 budget by 30 percent, or a dollar increase of $100,000.

“We’re looking at the park project and remodeling the town hall. I don’t know how close that is,” said town Chair Randy Halstead. “We’re trying to get a levy override through. We just ran such a tight budget for so long we’re getting in trouble. I hope they support us on all this stuff. I know there are some people upset about the park. It’s just a conceptual plan. Ultimately it’s got to go through the town board and I’m not prepared to spend that much money. I don’t know how the other guys feel. I call myself thrifty and my wife used to call me tight.”

The budget hearing is scheduled for 7 pm on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Town of Liberty Grove (John Lowry, Town Chair)

  • The proposed budget for culture and recreation is more than double last year’s. Money is going toward harbor improvements, a roof on the Women’s Club building, tennis court maintenance and additional into capital reserve.
  • Extra $45,000 in economic development going toward humane society, Door County North, Blues on the Bay and signage. They are also considering leasing a building for an information center.

Town of Sevastopol

“About the only thing we might be doing out of the ordinary, we have to fix our water problem,’ said Town Chair Leo Zipperer. “We don’t really know what the problem is. Drilling a new well has been tossed around, but I guess if you’re in an aquifer where you’re not going to get any good stuff, we may be looking at an ultraviolet treatment for the water.”

The town’s budget hearing is scheduled for 6 pm Monday, Nov. 23.

Village of Sister Bay (Dave Lienau, Village President)

  • Budget focused on completing certain projects: highway reconstruction, new beach, streetscape and updated wayfinding signage.

Town of Sturgeon Bay

Town Chair Roy Cihlar said there is nothing unusual in the town’s 2016 budget. The budget hearing is scheduled for 5 pm on Monday, Nov. 23.

Town of Union

“No big plans,” said Town Chair John Bur. “We had to cut our levy a little bit to make up for a nine percent increase in the fire department levy.”

The town’s budget hearing is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 23.

Town of Washington

In a recent column in the Washington Island Observer, titled “Our Island Matters: 2016 Proposed Budget,” Town Chair Jim Hanson wrote the following:

“To prepare the 2016 proposed budget we started with the 2015 approved numbers comparing them to previous years and 2015 year-to-date actual figures. We found that some revenue lines were understated and some expenditures overstated. These numbers have been adjusted to more closely reflect reality [including the 2016 highway expenditures to be in excess of $10,000]. The 2015 proposed property tax levy is increased by $4,700 over last year. This is the maximum amount allowable under the state levy limit rules.

“We know that the 2016 proposed budget is not perfect. No projection into the future can anticipate all potentialities. I respectfully request that the public approve the proposed budget as presented. We would all like to move on to issues other than crunching budget numbers.”

The town’s budget hearing is scheduled for Nov. 17 at 6:30 pm.

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