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Hobart sees unexpected population growth

By Ben Rodgers

HOBART – The Hobart village board learned of a spike in population at the Sept. 4 meeting to go along with the the boom in taxable value reported Aug. 21.

The most recent estimate of the village’s population from the Wisconsin Department of Administration shows Hobart has an estimated population of 9,261 as of Jan. 1, 2018.

This is up from the 8,778 residents as of Jan. 1, 2017.

The change reflects an increase of 483 residents, or 5.5 percent, over the estimated 2017 estimated population.

Other figures show the village has grown 82 percent since the 2000 census, which reported 5,090 residents. Since the 1990 census, the village has grown 122 percent.

Projections from the state in 2013 pegged Hobart to have 8,585 residents by 2020, so Hobart has exceeded population expectations.

At the Aug. 21 village board meeting, the board learned about the largest annual increase in preliminary taxable values in the past decade.

Preliminary estimates show the village added $79 million in taxable value in 2018, with the largest increases in residential ($56 million) and commercial ($23.8 million) property value.

Both of the village’s tax incremental financing districts (TIDs) showed growth as well. TID No. 1 went up $33 million, or 24 percent, and TID No. 2 increased $13 million, or 35 percent.

However, new values in the TIDs doesn’t equate to property tax savings, as those dollars are used to improve the TIDs until they are released onto the general tax roll.

Outside of the TIDs, Hobart saw an increase of $32 million, mostly due to residential construction, which corresponds with the population growth.

After the meeting Kramer, said the combination bodes well for the village moving into the future.

“The increase in population underscores the desirability of living in Hobart, but it will create some new challenges for the village in terms of service delivery and quality of life issues,” he said. “At the same time, an increased tax base through growth and development will provide more financial flexibility in meeting those challenges.”

Kramer said the village will now look at increased police personnel, increased parks and recreation opportunities, additional staffing in public works, space needs for the existing and future village staff and additional polling locations and staff.

The village also approved a new policy for volunteer firefighter compensation.

“The biggest change is we asked four firefighters to be on call on holiday weekends, and that means they can’t really leave the area, they can’t drink alcohol, they’re on call just like a doctor,” Kramer said. “We haven’t compensated those people before, but we will start doing that next year. It’s a small monetary token of appreciation.”

In other news, the village approved a conditional use permit for 2850 Dream Lake Road to allow two horses onto the property.

A public hearing for a conditional use permit to operate a bed and breakfast at 4360 Indian Trail that would be booked exclusively online is set for the Oct. 2 meeting.

Rich Heidel, board president, also appointed Bob Zemple to the Ethics Committee to a term set to expire on April 30, 2019, and Al Lankford to the Fire Commission to a term set to expire at the same time.

Coming out of closed session, the board voted to give Kramer a five-year contract extension with raises between 3 and 4 percent each year.

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