By Ben Rodgers
SUAMICO – The village board voted for the first sewer rate increase since 2010 at its Monday, March 5 meeting.
Jessica Legois, director of administrative services, gave a detailed report to the board that highlighted this year’s budget and challenges the fund will face in the future.
She said the utility budget reflects inflationary increases to normal operational expenditures combined with needed investments in various areas.
The budget reflects a 5 percent increase in operation and maintenance expenditures compared to the 2017 budget, and a rate increase of 2.7 percent, which was recommended by the Public Works & Utilities Committee, and a decrease in operating income from $347,200 to $340,600.
The increase is still lower than the 7.4 percent budget increase adopted by NEW Water for 2018.
Essentially it boils down to a 22-cent increase per 1,000 gallons for sewer.
The motion was unanimously approved.
No water rate increase was included in the approved budget.
Legois worked with Dan Drewery, director of public works, and Andy Smits, deputy director of public works, on the budget.
“Jessica, Dan and Andy have worked significantly hard on this effort and they expanded the information provided to the village board and they put in considerably more time than they have in the past,” said Steve Kubacki, village administrator. “…They went over things with a fine-toothed comb.”
The board also looked to save money on site preparation for the construction of Fire Station No. 1.
Kubacki originally presented the board with a resolution to take a loan from the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands for $100,000, which is standard operating procedure for a project like this.
“I have a really hard time borrowing for this when we’re sitting on stadium tax dollars,” said Michelle Eckert, trustee.
The village currently has close to $500,000 in excess stadium district tax dollars to be used for projects that improve the quality of life in the village.
By using stadium tax dollars for the project, the village will save enough money in interest payments alone to fund a roughly $25,000 space needs study for the new building, according to Dan Roddan, trustee.
Village staff will draft a resolution for the next meeting to formally approve using stadium tax dollars.
Finally the village board is still looking for one person to serve on the Suamico Cemetery Committee.
Anyone interested, or looking for more information can call 434-2212.