Reedsburg City Administrator Stephen Compton had to crunch some numbers to make the city budget appropriate for the council and finance committee. The council approved a $6.1 million budget unanimously at its Nov. 27 council meeting. Alderperson At-Large Brandt Werner was absent.
At the joint council and finance meeting, council members learned the real estate value has increased four percent but the city’s assessed value has decreased by $2.3 million due to local manufactures, Grede and Wisconsin Specialty Protein, seeing a decrease in their assessed value. To keep the councils desire to lower taxes, Compton had to make $40,000 to $50,000 in expense adjustments as well as adjust revenue. Because of the adjustments, the projected surplus decreased from $50,000 at the Nov. 13 meeting to $4,000.
The city’s tax levy for 2018 was set at $5.4 million for a mill rate of $10.19 per $1,000 of assessed value, a four cent decrease from last year’s mill rate of $10.23.
Additional adjustments by joint finance and council were discussed before and a unanimous approval to move $20,000 from the Space Needs Study into the reserve fund at a later date and a final decision to transfer $10,000 from the Capital Improvement Fund for the 2018 Baraboo River Study to the Park and Recreation Operating budget. The council unanimously approved the adjustments at the council meeting.
The operating budget for Parks and Recreation was previously set at $65,000 in the 2018 budget. This year, the department ran short on funds and Fourth District Alderperson Jim Heuer said the department had to watch their spending with certain projects: like spraying fertilizer and weed killer at Nishan Park and reducing the amount of wood chips for playground and had to “be conservative” when fixing lights at the tennis courts at Oak Park.
“I don’t think putting another $10,000 in there would hurt the parks,” Heuer said.
Baraboo River Study Grant
The council unanimously approved to use $3,500 in 2017 funds for their costs to apply for a $10,000 River Planning Grant for MSA Professional Services to conduct Phase II of the Baraboo River Corridor Plan. While the council approved to apply for the grant, they are waiting until all cities interested are fully on board before putting any additional funds towards the project.
Pending cities interested in the second phase of the project include Wonewoc, La Valle and Union Center. MSA Professional Services Senior Project Engineer Raine Gardner said Juneau County is trying to add Elroy into the mix for the project. She said Rock Springs and Sauk County have secured funds to put towards the study.
“The more it keeps growing along that stretch of river there’s more analysis that has to be done,” Gardner said.
Compton recommended the council approve to apply for the grant, but advised the council the other areas looking to get involved need to officially join and pay for their portion of the project in 2018.
“When you cycle that into the larger bigger piece of this grant we are seeking, we need to get the others on board,” Compton said.
Phase II of the study to will be used to help develop recreation uses along the Baraboo River and takes into consideration other communities located along the river in the Sauk and Juneau County areas.
“This really comes into the whole point of its not just looking at the river, it’s looking at all the recreational opportunities,” Gardner said.
The council approved its insurance policy for the 2018 fiscal year. Because of the number of part-time positions the city has budgeted for the 2018 fiscal year year, workers compensation rate for the companies insurance policy will drop 3.5 percent for the city. The change results in a 9 percent decrease in the amount the city will pay for insurance. Compton said the rates are a typical adjustment for a city the size of Reedsburg.
The council unanimously approved an ordinance to rezone 122 Main Street from business zone to residential zone and another ordinance to rezone 239 Granite Street and 425 5th Street from business and residential zone to government zone.