Sister Bay Bringing Budget to Residents Nov. 7

On Nov. 7, Sister Bay residents will get a chance to weigh in on a 2024 village budget that calls for a 40% increase in spending. 

The budget calls for $3,889,405 in spending, up from $2,778,949 in 2023. That includes $790,000 in debt service, $1,681,346 for general village operations, and $902,477 in capital expenses. Those capital expenses account for $437,977 of the increased expenditures. 

Those include funds for village hall upgrades, new parks and maintenance building, multimodal trail extensions along Highway 57 and the Little Sister Hill, concrete for a batting cage at the Sports Complex, broadband, infrastructure for the Wiltse property and vehicle replacement.

The village’s property tax levy will increase 12%, from $3,011,685 to $3,373,823. Because the village’s assessed value skyrocketed from $483 million to $796 million in 2023, the mill rate (or property tax per $1,000 of assessed value) will actually drop from $6.24 to $4.24. 

Revenue from Tax Increment Financing District #1, the half-cent Premier Resort Area Tax, increased room tax returns, and increased fees for short-term rentals, have all increased the village’s revenue to pay for the 40% increase in expenditures.

Among the increased expenditures is $131,941 in wages, benefits and expenses for a zoning and code compliance officer; $180,000 to pay off the loan on the Wiltse property; $50,000 toward design of a new administration building; $10,000 toward housing study and design for the Wiltse property; $12,500 toward the update to the outdoor recreation plan; an increase of $49,863 for street maintenance, primarily for new equipment and replacement; a $35,000 increase in funding for refuse and garbage that includes $10,000 to purchase additional receptacles; $12,000 for bike racks; $14,200 to re-clay the little league baseball field; an additional $11,983 for seasonal decorations; $8,908 for compensation to the board; $12,000 for an electronic voter log system; an $11,784 increase for fire protection; $10,000 for the removal of dead ash trees; and an increase of $5,000 to replace street signage and continue expanding parking ordinance signage. 

Village Trustee Denise Bhirdo suggested the board cut at least another $120,000 to lower the impact on taxpayers, but the board voted to move it forward to public hearing. Finance Director Tasha Rass discouraged the board from making big changes after the public hearing. 

“If we do, then we should republish the notice,” she said, which would require another meeting.

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