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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Town of Peshtigo Okays 2017 Proposed Budget

Issue Date: October 26, 2016

After adding provisions for purchase of a new brush truck for the fire department and $5,000 for a used piece of highway maintenance equipment from Marinette County, Peshtigo Town Board at a workshop session on Tuesday, Oct. 24 finalized its 2017 proposed budget with what they believe is the lowest town property tax rate in the county - approximately 78 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. This is down slightly from last year's 79 cents per $1,000.

The detailed budget will be presented for public discussion and adoption at the budget hearing set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15. As routine items with no specific plans for sales, electors at the budget meeting will also be asked to authorize the board to sell excess town equipment and real estate.

The proposed budget provides for spending $883,159 for town purposes next year. This is down from the $978,055 budgeted and $1,007,495 proposed and actual for 2016, a 9.7 percent drop. The requested tax levy to support this budget is $251,766, requiring a mill rate of .00078018, compared with .0079020 last year.

The budget is balanced, with spending of $883,159 matched by revenues of the same amount. This is down 9.7 percent from last year. Overall fund balance at the end of 2016 is expected to be $658,055, which is down slightly from the 2015 year end balance.

Detailed copies of the budget are available at the Town Hall on Old Peshtigo Road on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

During his budget presentation at the Oct. 24 workshop, Town Treasurer Vilas Schroeder pointed out areas where the proposed 2017 budget differs from last year. He expects the town to get slightly less revenue from county forest timber sales, various state payments and amounts collected for licenses and permits and recycling fees.

As approved at the Town Board meeting last week, the budget provides $5,500 for an independent audit, which has not been done in recent years.

Schroeder noted of the $333,614 from projected state shared revenue, $247,873 is from taxes on the Wisconsin Public Service "Peaking Plant" that was put back into operation after the nuclear power plant at Kewaunee was closed. Without that, the town's share of state shared revenue would only be $85,781.

Clerk Clarence Coble noted the town gets only one quarter of the tax money from the peaking plant, while the county gets three quarters. He said the Kewaunee County budget lost hundreds of thousands of dollars after the nuclear plant shut down. They even had to get special state legislation to allow them to exceed levy limits.

A drop is expected in the recycling grant from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Supervisor Denise Wiedemeier said somehow the more materials that people dispose of at the recycling site the more the grant goes down. Coble said the state puts $1 million in the recycling fund each year, and that is shared by all the "responsible units" in the state. The more towns that get into recycling the less each will get, Coble said.

Town Chair Herman Pottratz said next year Marinette County will sell its sign truck for $5,000. It can only be sold direct to a county municipality. The board agreed to add money for that purchase to the proposed budget. Pottratz said the truck has everything, including its own generator and a 50-foot chair with a hydraulic cutter for removing overhanging tree limbs. He said the county employee who operates the truck lives in the Town of Peshtigo and has agreed to work weekends operating it for the town, and put in more time after he retires. At Schroeder's suggestion money for the purchase was put into the Capital Outlay account.

There was brief discussion but no decisions on which town roads are to get improvements done next year. Supervisor Mark Monnette said they will not know that for sure until the annual road tour next spring.

Board members were surprised that Fire Chief Mike Folgert had not included an allocation for the proposed purchase of a new brush truck. After a bit of discussion the board agreed to put $40,000 into the budget for that purpose, with money to come from the $125,000 in the department's heavy equipment reserve fund.


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