Suamico board approves fee increases for 2021
By Kevin Boneske
SUAMICO – The village board voted 5-2 Monday, Dec. 21, in favor of a series of fee increases for village services, permits and property use for 2021.
Village President Laura Nelson and Trustee Michelle Eckert, who last month voted against the 2021 village budget, opposed the fee increases.
Village Administrator Alex Kaker said the $5 annual increases in the stormwater fee ($35) and for refuse pickup ($180) were included in the 2021 budget.
“The approval tonight for the stormwater and refuse – that’s just more of an administrative thing for us to do – it’s already been approved in the budget,” he said. “We just always updated the fee schedule per resolution, and we list all the changes. That’s why it’s in there tonight.”
Other fee increases approved by the board included a $15 hike in a fireworks use permit ($25), a $50 increase in the fire department’s highway reimbursement per-hour charges for an engine ($250) and a rescue vehicle ($250), and a $5 increase in the fire department’s per-hour charge for personnel ($25).
Fire Chief Joe Bertler said the per-hour personnel charge is based on the average salaries of the fire chief, full-time firefighter and paid on-call firefighters.
Prior to the board’s vote on the fee increases, Trustee Sky Van Rossum made reference to the fee hikes the village faces next year, which board members are objecting to, because of the higher sewer charges by NEW Water.
Van Rossum said the village wouldn’t have a budget if the board didn’t approve the fee hikes.
“Unfortunately, we’re stuck in a position that if we all opposed that increase going through to NEW Water, we would not have a budget as a village,” he said. “If we don’t have a budget as a village, services aren’t provided, and basically, people aren’t paid and this comes to a stop. So someway, we’ve got to put this through, even though we don’t like NEW Water, and we have to address it, as Administer Kaker is doing by bringing the other municipalities through.”
2020 budget amendment
In other action, the board unanimously approved a resolution to amend the 2020 budget to reflect $238,759 in additional revenues and expenditures.
Finance Director Jessica Legois said revenues and expenditures related to dealing with COVID-19 weren’t included in the 2020 budget the board approved last year.
“Due to COVID-19, the village received a substantial amount of grant funding in 2020,” she said. “We also received several fire department donations and some insurance recovery revenues.”
Legois said the unanticipated revenues are considered general fund revenues, and because the approved 2020 budget did not authorize spending these revenues, the budget needed to be amended to account for the increased revenues and associated increased expenditures and transfers to assigned funds in 2020.
“This amendment has no levy impact as the increased revenues are equal to the increased expenditures,” she said.