Property-based proposal may shift burden
By Robert Cloud
Dayton wants more details before the board votes on changing how the towns support the city of Waupaca’s Parks and Recreation programs.
Town Chair Dave Armstrong and city Parks and Rec Director Aaron Jenson presented the pros and cons on the proposed changes at the town board meeting Tuesday, April 18.
Currently, the city has agreements with the towns of Dayton, Farmington and Waupaca to help support the youth rec programs.
Each of the three towns agrees to pay an amount based on population.
Families from towns with agreements pay $38 per youth per program. Families from towns without the agreements pay $198 for each of their children to participate in each program.
The agreements help support the city’s programs and make them more affordable for families who live outside the city of Waupaca.
Jenson noted 36 percent of all users are from the city of Waupaca, which taxes its property owners to support parks and rec programming.
About 64 percent of those using the city’s rec programs live outside the city.
The city funds more than 86 percent of the total park and rec budget, while the towns fund the remaining 14 percent.
The city and Waupaca School District are currently exploring another way to finance the youth rec programs.
Wisconsin’s Fund 80 allows school districts to levy property taxes for such activities as adult education, community recreation and elderly food service, and other community service programs.
The tax bills of all property owners living within the school district’s boundaries would include a Fund 80 line item to help fund the city’s rec programs.
The town of Lind does not have an agreement with the city because its west side residents live in the Waupaca School District, while its east side residents live in the Weyauwega-Fremont School District.
Under the current funding system, Lind children must pay the higher rate to participate in city rec programs.
Under the proposed funding syustem, Lind residents living in the Waupaca School District would pay the Fund 80 property tax and participate in rec programs at the lower rate.
At the April board meeting, Armstrong presented estimates of how the proposed change in township funding for the programs would impact Dayton.
Based on a population of 2,757, Dayton paid $42,347 to the city in 2017. That amount will increase to $52,603 in 2019 under the current agreement.
Based on total assessed property values of $366 million, Dayton would pay $45,675 in 2017 and $56,728 in 2019 under the Fund 80 proposal.
Based on a population of 4,009, Farmington paid $61,578 in 2017 and would pay $76,491 in 2019.
Based on total assessed values of $467 million, Farmington would pay $58,250 in 2017 and $72,366 in 2019.
Armstrong said Farmington would see its share of the park and rec costs drop, while Dayton would see its share increase under the Fund 80 proposal.
Last year, Jenson approached the town boards and asked them to increase the amount they pay to support the city programs.
While Farmington and Waupaca signed one-year agreements with more support for the rec programs, the Dayton Town Board signed a three-year agreement with the city.
“We’re being taken advantage of because we were cooperative,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong presented his case against shifting to a Fund 80 property tax and asked for those at the meeting to indicate which direction they thought the board should take.
About 50 of those at the meeting raised their hands to indicate they wanted to maintain the current population-based funding agreements with the city. Only one hand was raised in support of the proposed change.
Armstrong asked Jenson to return to a future Dayton Town Board meeting with hard figures about costs and benefits of the rec program and funding.
He said the board would hold off on a vote until after seeing the numbers.