Budget reviewed by Howard village board
By Kevin Boneske
HOWARD – Work on the 2022 village budget is underway.
The Howard Village Board got its first look Monday, Oct. 11, at next year’s proposed general fund budget.
Director of Administrative Service Chris Haltom said the proposed budget shows an increase in the overall tax levy of $143,873, which is the maximum allowed by the state limit and 2% higher than the previous year.
“We have a little over $120,000 (of the levy increase) going into the general fund, and then the rest going into the capital projects funds,” he said. “That’s the big picture with the budget.”
Haltom said a portion of the levy increase is from tax base growth in the village’s Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) Districts, with tax rate projected to increase by around 2 cents, from $3.93 to $3.95 per $1,000 of property value.
“When the TIFs close, the village can take half of that tax base into the village levy in the year after (a TIF) closes,” he said. “We can’t take 100%. We can only take 50%. But if we’re taking the growth as you go along, we’re going to be OK, and basically we’re getting that growth as time goes on.”
Haltom said the village’s total proposed levy of $7,343,221 includes a general fund levy of $5,614,420 and a capital projects levy of $1,728,801, with no dollars being levied for debt service.
“We were going to add some in next year for the debt,” he said. “We’re trying to time it with the (property) revaluation, and the revaluation is going to occur next year, but it’s not going to affect the tax rate until the end of next year. So, we’re not going to put any debt payments into the levy this year…”
Of the proposed 2022 general fund expenditures of $8,371,100, Haltom said more than $3.3 million will be for public safety, another $3.163 million would be allocated for public works, with around $1.3 million for general administration and $544.100 for community development.
He said property taxes will generate close to 75% of the $7,624,100 in budgeted general fund revenues for 2022.
When factoring in another $678,000 transferred in as other financing sources, the proposed budget shows a projected general fund deficit for 2022 of $68,400, which would be covered by Howard’s fund balance, which began 2021 at more than $3 million.
Haltom said the village is proposing a 3% cost-of-living increase and a possible 2% step increase based on merit for employees in 2022.
“I think everybody would agree that the cost of living has gone up quite a bit this year,” he said. “So really, the 3% and the 2% would just be keeping up with inflation.”
Haltom said employee benefit costs are generally expected to decrease slightly with the village receiving a state health insurance premium reduction and the Wisconsin Retirement System pension contributions decreasing from 6.75% of gross pay to 6.5%.
Haltom said the board will discuss and modify the general fund budget as needed at its Oct. 25 meeting, when it will begin to discuss the debt service fund, capital projects and possibly enterprise funds.
On Nov. 8, he said the board will discuss and modify as needed any funds already discussed and continue with the enterprise and capital projects funds.
Haltom said the board will hold a public hearing Nov. 22, when it will finalize discussions on all funds and modify as needed to approve the 2022 budget.