Equalized property value increases 8% in Hobart
By Kevin Boneske
HOBART – The village’s equalized property value in 2021 exceeded $1.137 billion, an increase of 8% from the previous year, based on preliminary numbers from the State of Wisconsin, Village Administrator Aaron Kramer reported Aug. 17 to the Hobart village board.
“Despite, obviously, the pandemic in 2020, Hobart experienced what I would consider is nothing short of another impressive increase in our tax base – nearly $81 million, slightly below the record of the year before, which was $85 million,” he said.
Kramer said the 8% increase in equalized value comes after two years of 9% growth.
“The vast majority of our equalized value is residential ($872 million), followed by commercial ($202 million) and industrial ($42 million),” he said. “We have more than doubled the tax base since 2003.”
Kramer said figures provided by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue show net new construction increased 2.5%, or about $27 million, during the pandemic.
“It is the seventh consecutive year that the percentage increase in Hobart was better than the county’s overall,” he said. “We did peak out at 5% net new construction in 2018.”
Kramer said a key factor in the 2022 budget is the amount of new growth in the tax base in and out of the village’s two Tax Incremental Districts, with $833,315,200 in equalized value located outside of the TIDs to provide the tax base for the general, capital project and debt service funds.
He said TID No. 1, which is Centennial Centre, increased 6% in its valuation to more than $231 million, which since its creation in 2009 increased $210 million above the original tax base.
Kramer said TID No. 2, the Southeast Hobart Business Park along Packerland Drive, increased 16% to $97 million, which since its creation in 2011 increased nearly $94 million above the original tax base.
“There was a strong desire to develop and create and grow Hobart,” he said. “It’s reflected in our tax base, and it bodes well for the future as we continue to try to provide services and keep the mill rate stable and not have to experience large growth.”
Kramer said the equalized value report he presented is the “unofficial start to the budget cycle.”
Village President Rich Heidel said the report is better than “being to the doctor for an annual physical and getting a clean bill of health.”
“We’re told were ready to run the Ironman race,” he said. “Our rate of growth has got to be among the top 10 in municipalities in the state.”
The board agreed to use the 2022-26 capital projects plan Kramer presented as a planning document for budget purposes.
Of the $842,696 total for capital projects in 2022, he said about $612,000 would come from the general fund, roughly $100,000 from the stormwater fund, $65,000 from capital reserves and $68,000 from the Town of Lawrence, which pays for half of the combined police department’s capital expenses.
Kramer said next year’s projects include replacing a salt shed for an estimated $300,000.
“Our current salt shed at our public works department, it is unrepairable…,” he said. “It needs to be replaced now. It can’t be deferred any longer.”
Kramer said the proposed road projects include resurfacing Trout Creek from Hidden Trail to County J with $125,000 being escrowed next year toward the road work being done in 2023.
“We escrow the money, so we’re splitting it over two years,” he said. “Now this proposal in front of you tonight is to take $125,000 next year and bank it away, and then do the project in ‘23 with the remaining $332,000 we think we’re going to need, (it) does not include the realignment of the road.”
Public Works Director Jerry Lancelle said it would cost another $150,000 roughly to realign Trout Creek.
Kramer said also adding a walking trail for the project would increase its cost to more than $750,000.
“At that point, it starts to knock out so many things in the budget that you actually have to go about two years without doing any road projects,” he said. “Sorry, but I just didn’t think the juice was worth the squeeze at this point.”
Other than banking away money for use in future years, Kramer said the board may have to look at bonding to fund the larger road projects.
Along with $5,000 designated next year for an upgrade of the fire department’s current tool inventory and better security for new tools purchased, he said $50,000 would be included to finance the design and architectural work for a new station to replace the current facility on South Pine Tree Road.
The target date for work to begin is spring of 2023.
Kramer said a new aerial truck for the fire department is planned for 2026 at an estimated cost of $1.3 million, for which funds would be bonded.
The board approved a new accounting and financial consulting services contract with Brian Ruechel, with the new agreement taking effect Jan. 1 and the current contract terminating at that time.
The new agreement calls for Ruechel in 2022 to receive $37,440 at $90 an hour for eight hours of service per week.
The board approved an amended municipal recycling agreement with Brown County.
The amendment ensures the village’s eligibility for the 2022 Wisconsin Recycling Consolidation Grant.