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Suamico approves 2019 budget

By Ben Rodgers

SUAMICO – The Suamico village board approved the 2019 budget and a slight increase in taxes for residents on Monday, Nov. 12.

The mill rate increased to $4.60 for 2019, up 3 cents from $4.57 per $1,000 of home value.

That equates to an increase in property taxes of $4.56 for a $150,000 home, $6.08 for a $200,000 home and $9.13 for a $300,000 home.

“Most departments have actually taken some cuts,” said Jessica Legois, director of administrative services. “Again, it’s been a very challenging budget year and we expect next year to be the same.”

The total levy increased $93,000 to top $5 million for 2019, a 1.9 percent increase from 2018.

Of that levy, 30 percent will go to debt service, 13 percent to capital projects and 57 percent to the operational budget.

Legois highlighted the village in 2019 will add an additional $100,000 this year for road projects, will hire a new full-time firefighter for the day shift and approved a new three-year contract with the Brown County Sheriff’s Office.

Revenues for the operational levy will decrease by $18,000 and state aid is also dipping nearly $32,000.

However, permits and user fees will add more than $91,000 in revenue for 2019.

Legois said the village will have several large projects in the future, which will likely require borrowing.

Those include the new Fire Station No. 1, Lineville Road, the White Pine and Velp roundabout, and fire department staffing.

Levy-funded capital projects include road reconstruction and a squad car replacement. A new zero-turn lawn mower and single-axle dump truck will also come from the equipment replacement reserve.

Anticipated 2019 capital projects that will use excess stadium tax dollars include a heater/air conditioner for the Calavera Park shelter and a salt storage building for a combined cost of nearly $220,000.

The ending fund balance for the stadium tax dollars fund with those projects is anticipated to be $277,000.

The budget also included no increase for garbage/recycling, storm water or engineering fees.

Approved in the budget were fire inspection fees for local businesses, a hotly contested topic for the past several meetings.

For a 1,000- to 5,000-square-foot building, the fee will be $50 annually.

“While I applaud the department heads for the work that they put into this budget, it’s not a budget I can support because I don’t agree with the fire inspection fees in here,” said Village President Laura Nelson. “I think the full-time firefighter position could have been funded without putting those in place and I think I’ve made my position perfectly clear in all our budget hearings.”

Trustee Michelle Eckert echoed those sentiments.

“I still don’t like the fees are in there,” Eckert said. “Basically there aren’t going to be more hours spent for the firefighting position, it’s just going to be spent better, during the daytime instead of evenings and weekends, and I think we could have moved those dollar amounts better to find that.”

The budget passed 5-2 with Eckert and Nelson opposed.

During the budget presentation, Legois also reported Tax Incremental Financing District (TID) No. 4 was very healthy. That TID encompasses the Urban Edge Towne Centre.

TID No. 4 impacted a decision that was made later in the meeting.

The Marq relinquished its regular Class B liquor license and two businesses recently applied for a license.

“These are never easy decisions when you got one or the other,” said Village Administrator Steve Kubacki. “Unfortunately we’re in this ballpark because of the state of Wisconsin and the Tavern League because of their control over these licenses for all practical purposes. With that you have the village attorney and his opinion that it’s up to the village board for this decision. It’s not an easy decision, but that’s the lot we’re in going forward.”

Trustee Dan Roddan said the license should stay in the TID it was originally granted for.

“If you keep that license within the TID, I think that’s the fairest thing to do because it was in the TID to begin with,” Roddan said. “… We’ve got to pick winners and losers and that’s the fairest way to do it.”

Gallagher’s Pizza was granted the regular Class B liquor license for its new location in TID No. 4.

The Old Mexico Mexicana Cantina & Grill, to be located at 1184 Velp Ave., has also applied for a license and was granted a reserve Class B liquor license that comes with an initial $10,000 fee.

The village has 10 regular Class B liquor licenses, five reserve licenses filled, and four or five more reserves available after the Nov. 12 meeting.

In other news, the board directed village staff to research the possibility of adding a park on an outlot in the final plat for the proposed Breezeway Bluff residential development.

“We want to dedicate it to an area where children tend to congregate and play, because if we have an area like that, it’s called a protected zone and then sex offenders can’t move into that area in a 1,500-foot radius,” Nelson said.

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