By Kevin Boneske
HOBART – The mill rate for next year’s operations in the village of Hobart, not including the two Tax Incremental Financing districts, would stay at $4.14 per $1,000 of equalized value under the proposed 2019 village budget to be considered at a public hearing Nov. 20.
“What you paid last year to Hobart for services, you will pay the same, assuming you home’s value remained constant,” said Village Administrator Aaron Kramer. “We do not have mill rates from every other component of a person’s total tax bill, but we hope to have that by (Nov. 20) and share that at the public hearing.”
Kramer, who presented a budget report at the village board’s meeting Wednesday, Nov. 7, said Hobart’s proposed 2019 general fund budget would be able to meet the following goals:
• Maintain a mill rate of $4.14 per $1,000 of equalized value – the same as in 2018.
• Finance the purchase of a new snow plow, replacing the current plow, which after a decade of service has reached the end of its useful lifespan.
• Continue the village’s commitment to public safety, with the addition of one police officer to the staff in 2019, and increase the village’s capital expenditures in law enforcement with the purchase of two squad cars next year.
• Maintain the village’s commitment to repairing the infrastructure with expenditures of more than $300,000 on road and bridge improvements.
• Avoid using funds from the debt service reserve, maintaining those funds to pay off one of the village’s general fund bonds early in 2020, while at the same time putting the village on schedule for the likely borrowing of the funds needed to construct a new fire station in 2023-24.
• Maintain a responsible contingency fund for any unexpected expenditures in 2019.
Of the estimated operations levy of $2,926,650, Kramer said that would be divided three ways with $1,755,326 for the general fund, $615,533 for debt service and $555,790 for capital expenditures.
“Any growth in the tax levy came from natural growth, not in an increase in the mill rate,” he said.
Kramer said a 1-cent increase in the mill rate would result in approximately an increase of $8,513 in the total tax levy.
Of the changes in revenue compared to the 2018 budget, Kramer said the general property tax levy for the general fund is increasing by around $83,000, which is being offset partially by increased growth in the village and partially by a decrease in the capital projects fund.
“We did a lot of road work this year,” he said. “But that was done with anticipation that we were going to start shifting some of money back to the general fund beginning in 2019.”
Kramer said intergovernmental revenue is increasing with $8,841 coming from personal property state aid, a new revenue source established in the last state budget, and an increase of $40,046 in state transportation aid.
To reflect a more conservative approach in revenue from licenses and permits, Kramer said the village is projecting a decrease of $28,930 for next year.
However, he noted the budget also takes into account a projected increase of $28,930 in public charges for service, such as the series of fee increases the board approved at the Nov. 7 meeting and an anticipated increase in citation revenue with an increase in police staffing.
With the town of Lawrence paying the village for the joint Hobart/Lawrence Police Department with one-third of the general fund costs and half of the capital expenses, along with a third of the municipal court costs to be placed in the general fund, Kramer said Lawrence next year would contribute $437,889 to the general fund and $53,400 to the capital fund.
Kramer said interest on the village’s accounts is projected to increase next year by $13,000, while another increase of $24,168 is being budgeted for a transfer from the sanitary sewer fund.
Of the expenditure side, Kramer said the changes for next year include an increase of 2.5 percent for full-time employees, unless an individual salary has been approved by a prior board action.
In addition, he noted the proposal to add one police officer to the staff July 1 calls for paying this officer $25.97 per hour in the first year of service.
Kramer said the village will continue a $3,000 opt-out payment to those employees who are eligible for the village’s health insurance program, but choose to get coverage elsewhere.
He said the increase in employee contributions to the health insurance deductible is currently being phased in through 2022, when it will reach $500, with a $70 annual hike to be at $290 in 2019.
Kramer said next year’s proposed budget has $107,706 allocated to the contingency fund.