Board proposes $8.40 per $1,000 rate
By John Faucher
Village of Hortonville taxpayers will see a .10 percent decrease in their tax bills in 2017.
The projected tax rate is down one cent from the previous year’s rate of $8.41 per thousand.
The proposed total levy for 2017 is $1.53 million.
Village board members met numerous times in October and early November to discuss preliminary budget figures, before proposing a revised balanced budget on Nov. 9.
Initially the board had anticipated a higher increase for property and liability insurance of $12,000. Since the Oct. 31 budget meeting, the village learned the actual increase of the insurance would be $8,000.
In other budget factors, Village Administrator Dianne Wessel reported 2015 net new construction was up by 3.67 percent.
The proposed budget also factored in decreases in the village’s HRA payments due to a new insurance plan with a lower deductible, and a $2,000 decrease in both the election budget and education fund for 2017.
Wessel also reported a projected increase in expenses of $1,000 for the Senior Activities Committee, $2,000 for updates in the personnel manual, and a $14,000 increase in health insurance. Wessel said the increase in health insurance costs were due to a change in an employee requesting to be on the village plan.
Non-tax bill fees for Gold Cross Ambulance and refuse collection were up in 2017. Wessel said the village ambulance subsidy will increase from $13,555 to $28,466, and refuse collection will increase by $3,500 for 2017.
Board considers pay cut
At its Oct. 31 budget meeting, the board discussed where it could trim $7,139 to balance the budget. Board members even considered a pay cut for themselves.
Trustee Peter Olk noted that most board members already donate a portion or all of their pay back to village programs and civic groups. Olk suggested the pay rate stay as is, and let board members decide which programs to donate to in the coming year.
Wessel said opera house revenues were projected to increase to $6,500, factoring in increased usage of the building by outside groups.
The board also trimmed the municipal court travel and seminar budget from $1,200 to $500.
Increased fees for summer programs
The board discussed raising summer recreation program fees from $50 for residents to $75, and non-resident fees from $100 to $150. Based on last year’s numbers the increase would add $3,400 in revenues.
The board also factored in a possible increase of $3,000 in revenue, if a proposed fire call charge for accidents is implemented.
If a fee for accident calls is approved, the Town and Village would each receive a portion of the revenue.
The board also anticipated a slight increase of $2,500 in building permit revenues based on projected growth in 2017. Initially the projected revenue from building permit fees was set at $10,000, and then increased to $12,500.
The board set a budget hearing for Thursday, Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m.
Village President Traci Martens thanked the staff members that worked on the budget.
“You did as we requested and came back with the cuts we needed. We were able to keep the tax rate flat with a slight reduction,” said Martens.
Clerk Treasurer Lynne Mischker said, “It definitely was a team effort all the way around.”