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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Levy Limits Force Pound To Cut Budget By $15,868

Issue Date: November 27, 2019

At its annual Budget Hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 25 Pound Village Board was informed by Clerk/Treasurer Diane Patz that due to state levy limits they needed to reduce the proposed property tax levy by $15,868. This results in a drop from $130,162 as listed in the published proposed budget to $114,294, which is the most they can levy.

The resulting property tax rate will be --- per $1,000 of assessed value, down from last year's rate of --- per $1,000. This compares to a tax rate of $10.10 per $1,000 for the 2019 budget and $10.09 the year before.

Patz explained she had been told by Wisconsin Department of Revenue that they cannot use payments on the line of credit debt as an exclusion from the levy limits. Only payments on long-term capital investment loans can be considered. The proposed levy would already have 5.98 percent below the $138,162 levy for the 2019 budget.

The ineligible line of credit loan was used to pay for the Walker Street project, and Patz noted if it had been refinanced as a general obligation loan they could have used it for the levy limit exclusion.

After some discussion the board unanimously agreed to take the $15,868 from the proposed capital outlay budget of $49,110, which drops it to $33,242. There was no provision for capital outlay in the 2019 budget, but there were expenditures of $11,690.

The 2019 budget included a provision for $53,196 for conservation and development, for which there is no provision in the 2020 budget. Actual and estimated spending in that category in 2019 totaled $14,539.81.

Due in part to some accounting changes, the public works budget rose from $35,900 budgeted for 2019 to $86,134 budgeted for 2020. However, actual and estimated public works expenses for 2019 total $101,399.36. Patz explained after getting input from the Department of Revenue she had to move $92,217 of water and sewer utility expenditures to public works instead of general government.

There was some discussion of why the village pays $30,000 for hydrant rental, which falls under public safety. However, that income apparently is credited to the utility.

Other approved expenditures include $95,795 for general government, down from $137,825 budgeted last year; $57,553 for public safety, up from $49,950 budgeted last year, $100 for health and human services, where there had been no allocation last year, and $56,065 for debt service principal and interest payments, compared to $41,000 budgeted for 2019.

Anticipated revenues in addition to the $114,294 property tax levy include $5,329 from special assessments for curb and gutter in connection with the Walker Street project, $155,485 in state shared revenue, $4,600 from the Expenditure Restraint program, $19,232 from Department of Transportation road aids, $19,099 grant from MSIP funds for proposed repairs to the aprons on Business 141, and $1,600 in investment income.

Other revenues expected are $1,100 from licenses and permits, $11,500 for various public charges, $2,000 for use of the community center and pavilion, $2,000 from use of the street sweeper, and interest of $1,000. Income from the fire department is listed at $6,250, the same as it was in 2018 and 2019.

There were no members of the public present for the budget hearing except Public Works Director Kevin Schutte and a Peshtigo Times Reporter. Village officials present in addition to Patz were Village President Terry Earley and trustees Mary Meyer, David Navis, Mike Rogodzinski, and John Homontowski.

As revised, the budget is balanced with total revenues and expenditures of $337,739, up from lthe 2019 budget of $327,021, but well below the 2018 budget of $470,951.

Patz, who has been in her position as clerk/treasurer for only four months, said to gain information on how to prepare the budget she had attended a training seminar and sought advice from from other clerk/treasurers as well as from the State Department of Revenue.

In discussing ineligibility of the line of credit loan payments for tax levy exclusion Meyer commented the board had not been aware of how to handle the tax levy limit restrictions properly. She noted the only way the village can get more money now is to go to a referendum in which they ask the public to allow them to exceed state levy limits, but it is far too late to do that for this year. Patz suggested they could also take out another loan, one for which they could take the general obligation debt deduction. She said either way, if they are going to do the proposed ramp improving project they will need to take out a loan. The $19,999 MSIP allocation will be lost if the village cannot pay its matching share.

Reducing the levy means the village is going to be on a tight budget for 2020, Patz commented, but added, "That doesn't mean we can't do things."

Meyer noted there are grants available, and Patz agreed the village should go after them.

"There's no sense in making a capital outlay if we have no money to make a capital outlay with," Navis commented, and moved to take the $15,868 from the provision for capital outlay, since there seemed no where else to cut anticipated spending to meet the levy limits. Meyer seconded and Homontowski, Rogodzinski and Early all voted in agreement. The board then voted without dissent to approve the budget as amended.

There was no separate budget presented for the Water and Sewer Utility, and all agreed that needs to be done.

Patz explained everything for the utility is paid from the general fund, and then the utility is supposed to pay it back at the end of the year. Meyer commented the utility is paying off a lot of debt and wondered if that is happening.

Navis complimented Patz on getting all the budget work done on time, and she said she had to do it to get the tax bills out.

On a happier note, there was brief discussion after the meeting adjourned on plans for the 12th annual Village of Pound Community Christmas Parade of Lights at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14. Anyone interested in entering a lighted float is asked to submit an entry form to Katie's Sub Shop or to Patz at the Village Hall by Friday, Dec. 13. The parade will be immediately followed by official lighting of the community Christmas tree, and an After The Parade Social with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus at the Pound Community Center on County Q will complete the evening. The social will include refreshments of coffee, apple cider, chili and sweets, all free of charge. Anyone wishing to donate chili or a monetary gift is asked to contact Paula Seewald at 920-897-3250, Patz at 920-897-4307 or Scott Kahl at 920-897-4277.


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