As the end of the year inches closer, Reedsburg is preparing for the final adoption of next year's budget.

At its Sept. 9 meeting, the council unanimously approved setting a budget workshop to discuss the 2020 budget. The meeting is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 16 at Reedsburg City Hall with the same time scheduled for Oct. 29 set as a back-up date.

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In the previous three years, the council presented its budget over the course of three meetings. One was a joint finance and council meeting held during the second budget hearing in November. Instead the council is invited to those workshops where the finance committee will review the budget before passing it along in its entirety to the council for further review and possible adoption.

City Administer Tim Becker said doing it this way gives the city more time to review, plan and ask questions about the budget. Becker said it’s the same formality the city took in previous years with other administrators before Stephen Compton took over in 2016.

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Last December, Compton told the council he mixed up the numbers used to calculate the $6.1 million budget, resulting in a 6% tax increase for residents instead of a zero percent the city approved weeks earlier. Compton resigned shortly after the error was presented. The error resulted in the city amending its budget by $43,500 to qualify for the expenditure restraint program. 

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Becker said he is hoping to present the budget to the council at its first meeting in November. It will be the first budget he’s presented as city administrator since he took over the role in February.

In addition to scheduling the workshops the council unanimously approved the 2020 Capital Improvement and Capital Equipment Plan. The capital improvement plan, which includes projects like roads and park updates, has a budgeted property tax levy of $864,600, no change from the 2019 budget.

Becker said the capital improvement plans also includes a $7,600 surplus and takes $300,000 into consideration for the possible construction of a new splash pad should the project be approved next year. Becker said the amount for the splash pad could change based on additional fundraising and grants.

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Becker said the capital equipment plan levy has a surplus of $40,000, so the levy amount could be reduced, but he told the council he’d like to keep some of the surplus in case it’s needed for general operations.

“We’ll be able to determine that a little bit more once we get deeper in the budget,” Becker said. “This is just a preliminary plan.”

Last year, the Capital Equipment Fund and Capital Improvement Fund made up $864,600 and $325,000 of the $5.7 million tax levy.

Ordinance changes

The council unanimously approved changes to its emergency management ordinance to include updates to current practices the city takes during an emergency. The original ordinance was approved in 1972 by the council and county board.

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The council also approved to change its water impact fees for the water based on its 2019 report. The fees are 30% less than the ones first implemented in 2002. A single family dwelling with a standard meter size can expect to pay $631 rather than $884. Reedsburg Utility General Manager Brett Schuppner said the city collected $102,000 in water impact fees in 2018 compared to $7,000 in 2016.

Other business

The council approved two Webb Fund requests. One was a $25,000 request from the Reedsburg Athletic Club to support fundraising efforts for a proposed new fitness center. The other was $11,167.50 for Bar Buddies Reedsburg to purchase a new seven-person minivan for the safe ride program.

The council unanimously approved an updated municipal bond schedule. Becker said the change was due to the city updating its general code of ordinances not the fines.

The council unanimously approved to appoint Bill Voigt to the personnel committee.

Follow Erica Dynes on Twitter @EDynes_CapNews or contact her at 608-393-5346.

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