Hobart budget proposes salary, license fee increases
By Kevin Boneske
HOBART – Salary and license fee increases proposed for the 2022 village budget were presented Oct. 5 to the Hobart Village Board by Village Administrator Aaron Kramer.
Unless an individual’s salary for next year already has been determined by board action or an employment contract, Kramer said he is proposing a 3% increase for employees.
“This matches the majority of what our neighboring communities will be doing,” he said. “It also matches the (Wisconsin) Department of Revenue’s Consumer Price Index announcement…”
Kramer said beverage license fees were decreased by 50% for 2021 to provide temporary relief to small businesses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but for next year he is proposing those fees go back to their pre-pandemic levels with no other increases.
“The fiscal impact is minimal for us,” he said.
Licenses now listed at $250, for example, would once again cost $500.
Kramer said the 10% reduction the board approved last year for the stormwater fee, which affects residential, commercial and industrial property owners throughout the village, would become permanent.
“That will be reflected on this year’s property tax bills,” he said. “People will see a 10% reduction in their stormwater fees. Last year, we estimated that would have an impact of about $52,000 on our stormwater budget.”
Kramer said the stormwater budget is healthy enough to absorb the 10% decrease.
“That does provide – if you will – I don’t want to say property tax relief, because it’s not property tax, but it does provide relief on the final bill that you get in December,” he said.
After a presentation later this month on police staffing requests, Kramer said he plans to present the general fund, capital and debt service budgets at the board’s Nov. 2 meeting.
“If we need a second budget meeting, it would be the following Tuesday night, Nov. 9,” he said. “Otherwise, we’ll have a public hearing and adoption of the budget for the general fund, capital and debt service on Nov. 16. We’ll take action on the 2022 fee schedule, and I hope at that point we’ll have all the other property tax levies (for other units of government) and we can do the ordinance establishing our property tax levy, garbage rates and stormwater fees for (2022).”
On Dec. 7, Kramer said he will be presenting the budgets for Tax Incremental Districts No. 1 and 2, water, sanitary sewer, stormwater and the village’s newest budget, parks and recreation, with adoption of those budgets set for Dec. 21.
“Obviously, if we need some extra meetings in there, we’re looking at Dec. 14, or we can all come back Dec. 28, bring our fruitcake and wrap things up for the year on that date,” he said.
Kramer said the budget process is identical to what the board did last year.
“I’m confident we can do it all in our normal schedule, if we get things done,” he said. “The biggest challenge is going to be that time period from Oct. 26 – I don’t think you want to get the budget on the morning of Nov. 2. You want some time to read it.”
Kramer said the village’s state aid for next year will be going up by a dollar, with state transportation aid “going up considerably more than that.”
“We are now over $400,000 in state transportation aid,” he said. “We’ve seen that increase by $100,000 since I arrived here (in 2017)… That’s due to an increased number of roads and our increased investment in road work, so we’re seeing a reflection of that.”
“This is truly a year, I think, you want to look at the total property tax levy versus the mill rate,” he said. “(The mill rate) is going to give you an artificial sense. It’s going to go down, because of the reassessment. Some people are going to be seeing their tax bills go up. Some people are going to see their tax bills go down.”
Last November, the board approved increasing the tax levy by about $26,000 to more than $3 million, with the mill rate dropping by a penny to $4.41 per $1,000 of assessed value.
Kramer said the village was able to lower the tax rate with the levy increasing because the overall assessed value in Hobart increased.
Figures from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue show total equalized value in Hobart increased in 2021 by around $81 million, or 7.7%, to more than $1.137 billion.