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Dells BID committee proposes 13.8 % increase in assessment as city pieces together 2022 budget
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Dells BID committee proposes 13.8 % increase in assessment as city pieces together 2022 budget

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Wisconsin Dells Business Improvement District Committee is proposing to increase its assessment by almost 14%, or $50,000 more than last year, to cover anticipated projects and build on future events.

Chairperson Tara Anchor said the reason for the $13.8% increase in the assessment of its $512,827 proposed budget is planned projects the committee has up its sleeve for next year. Around $90,000 is budgeted for next year’s Christmas event. The committee is looking to add additional lights and activities to build on last year’s Tree of Light at the Riverwalk and add additional holiday themed lights throughout downtown Dells.

“We are hoping that people have an even higher motivating reason to get out of their cars with the railing being lite all the way down the Riverwalk and just trying to add a lot more pizazz so that people want to actually spend even more time downtown during that holiday season,” Anchor told finance committee members Oct. 6 when presenting the budget.

Video of the Tree of Light Nov. 23 on the River Walk, a new winter holiday attraction in Wisconsin Dells. Officials also set up the community Christmas tree and area businesses created their own sponsored Christmas trees to display along the River Walk.

The committee approved its budget at its Sept. 22 meeting. The budget still needs to go through the finance committee and common council before its adoption.

Additional item in the BID’s proposed budget include $5,000 for billboard exit sign on Rail Road Hill to thank visitors for coming to the area, a $4,000 plaque as a tribute to the late civic and business leader Bill Brown and programing for the plaza on Elm Street once it opens, according to a copy of the budget.

Wisconsin Dells BID projects rise in assessed value in 2022 budget

A $100,000 surplus was transferred, which includes the Woodside Developers Agreement and plaza operations. The committee originally pledged $175,000 over the course of two years for the plaza project but the visitor and convention bureau decided to give the money back to the BID and instead have the money go towards plaza programming. The estimated $4.5 million project is scheduled for completion next summer.

Wisconsin Dells Elm Street downtown plaza plans unveiled

With the projected increase, the BID’s assessment revenue will total $412,647. The assessment would rise to .65 cents to $3.88 per $1,000 of assessed value depending on the district, around .08 to .47 cent increase. A business with a $500,000 assessed value in their business can expect to pay $236.55 more in in its assessment if in Zone 1 while a business in Zone 5 would see a $39.42 increase with the same assessed value, according to budget documents provided by the city.

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The BID is funded separately from city taxes and is instead paid through assessments on businesses in downtown Dells in five districts.

The BID committee was one of several city departments that presented its budget before the finance committee Oct. 6, including the fire, public works, utilities, parks and recreation and rivers and bays departments. No action was taken.

City departments scheduled to present at the next meeting scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at Wisconsin Dells Municipal Building at 300 La Crosse St. include building inspection, planning and zoning, police and parking utility, library, general and administration, municipal court, cemetery, buildings and grounds, ambulance, debt service, premier resort tax and room tax.

The fire department is looking for an under 2% increase. Fire Chief Pat Gavinski also presented a capital layout plan for 2022 to 2029 for some of its equipment, like radio, ladders and a fire truck. Public Works Premier Resort Tax revenue is estimated at $802,634 while expenditures is estimated at over $1.1 million with city road projects planned for the year include improvements to Race Street, according to Chris Tollaksen, public works director, and the budget. Administrative Coordinator/Finance Director Karen Terry said the numbers are estimates at this point since the city is waiting on another quarter to receive those funds to apply for the year.

The city is expected to receive the final premier resort tax payment in November. The remaining premier resort tax for economic and general infrastructure will be presented Oct. 13. The entire proposed budget will need finance committee approval before it heads to the common council in November for adoption.

Wisconsin Dells allocated $313,000 in COVID-19 federal stimulus

Terry said in a separate interview the city mill rate, the estimated impact on taxpayers, is not known at this time since discussions are still ongoing. Last year, the council approved a mill rate at $9.75 for Dells’ residents in Sauk County, $10.32 for Columbia County residents, $8.86 for Adams County and $10.05 for Juneau County at $1,000 of assessed value for each area. The 2021 budget was $5.7 million budget with a 1.2% increase in the tax levy, or $41,094, for a total levy of $3.4 million.

Other business

The finance committee unanimously approved to enter into a lease with Enterprise Fleet Management to purchase six vehicles for 2022 worth $34,500 for police, parks, building inspections, public works and city hall/library to use. The item will go before the council at a future meeting for further review and possible adoption.

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

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