Village board has early budget talks
By Ben Rodgers
HOBART – The Hobart Village Board learned the upcoming budget is nearly cooked at the Tuesday, Oct. 17 meeting.
“At this point I would say it’s already about 90 percent complete,” said Aaron Kramer, village administrator. “Basically what I’ve done in the past wherever I’ve worked is lay out the broad scope of the budget.”
Kramer did just that on Tuesday as he discussed an overview of the budget and the goals he has for the village.
The first of which is keeping the mill rate frozen at $4.41 cents per $1,000 of equalized value.
“By keeping it flat, we estimate … that we will generate a levy of $2.89 million which is about $30,000 more from last year and that’s based on the natural growth outside of the two TID districts,” Kramer said.
One Change Kramer wants to accomplish while keeping the levy flat is a 40 cent increase for all full-time employees, with additional tenure-based increase of $100 per year of service to the village.
He also recommends not filling the position of assistant to the village administrator, which would result in a reduction of $48,000 in base salary, plus savings for benefits and retirement.
Kramer wants to increase the salary of the municipal court judge to $8,400 per year, which is more in line with similar size municipalities.
He also wants to add a full-time police officer, with the projected costs to be offset by a reduction in the department’s part time costs.
Finally, there are two village employees who will receive a $3,000 opt out payment, for not taking the village’s health insurance plan and purchasing coverage elsewhere.
Health insurance costs will also be looked at down the road.
“We are going to look at health insurance options, but Mary (Smith, clerk, treasurer) sat in one meeting with a health broker and now is not the time to look at it,” Kramer said. “You’re not going to find a plan similar that’s going to cost you any less. If you get something different you’re going to pay more and get less coverage. To be honest we have a very nice plan.”
Kramer has most of the numbers finalized. The next step is a group of meetings to review and accept those numbers, followed by public input.
The timetable for accepting the budget is right in line with what was expected.
The village board will meet at 6 p.m., on Tuesday, Oct. 24 for a special meeting to review a draft of the budget, along with the general fund, capital fund and debt service fund.
“It’s not going to have all the bells and whistles, it’s numbers,” he said of his draft.
In other news the village purchased the land the village sign sits on between Centennial Centre Boulevard and Hillcrest Drive.
The land was purchased from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for $30,000, after the DOT initially wanted much more.
“The DOT in March wanted $58,000 for the property,” Kramer said. “We reviewed the appraisal, contested it, lobbied in Green Bay, heard nothing for months, then on Oct. 5 they said you are right.”
The parcel of land contains roughly 2.4 acres and cannot be used for any type of development in the future.
“I want to stress, and it was made clear to me, we cannot sell this land, and it cannot be used for commercial purposes,” Kramer said.
The money for the purchase will come out of the village’s capital reserve account.
Finally the board approved $22,700 for developing a roughly half acre of land in the Tailwinds subdivision as a park for children.
“We ask for your permission to proceed with this plan and this would be targeted for the spring of 2018 for installation,” Kramer said.
The proposed plan calls for spring riders, climbers, a swing set, tetherball, a bike rack, picnic tables, benches, a trash can, signage, wood chips, a liner, containment and landscaping.
The funds will come from the village’s park improvement fund.