By Charles Collier, The Denmark News
DENMARK—A two-hour public hearing was hosted in the Denmark Village Hall on Monday, Nov. 27, prior to a special meeting designed to vote on the Village’s proposed funding initiatives for 2018. Treasurer Kim Cookle motioned “zero” with a coiled hand when asked how many residents had reviewed the budget in the two weeks it had been available for public inspection. Just as many were in attendance Monday evening.
A slight uptick in the mil rate for the Village’s Tax Incremental District, about 30%, and an overall increase of assessed value are estimated to contribute $63,000 more to the general fund than last year, helping to off-set a combined loss of $33,000 in revenue from the School District (which had cost-shared the use of a Village-contracted officer through the Brown County Sheriff’s Office. That agreement is not expected to continue into the 2018-19 school year) and an estimated drop in license and permit fees.
A home in the Village with an assessed value of $150,000 will pay roughly $750 to the municipality in 2018.
The budget, adopted unanimously in the special meeting following the public hearing, increases total Village expenses proportionally to revenue increases by 2.77%, or about $40,000, from the current year and dedicates larger portions of the budget to economic development and paying back municipal debt.
Outside of inquiries from Trustee Vince Wertel on line item increases within the Public Works budget—explained by new methods to track employee work on specific issues, a change from a diesel motor to a generator at one of the wells which will eventually be paid by a federal Rural Development grant, and potential equipment changes for Public Works staff—there was little contention on the business put before the Board.
About $33,000 are removed from the General Government expense, which Cookle said was a result of remodeling at Village Hall being completed earlier in the year. Extra funds were included for the project in the 2017 budget and the new figure adopted on Monday is more congruent with general operating costs.
Funds for Parks and Recreation were also cut, by 26.5% or $43,942, but this dip too is emblematic of the previous year’s project goals being completed. New scoreboards for Veterans Memorial Park have nearly completed their installation and the former skate park now serves as a grassy area which could feasibly serve as warm-up space for players about to use the ball diamond. Trustee Susan Selner added in an aside that the Board should consider renovations and upkeep to the park’s tennis and basketball courts in the coming year.
(BOLD) Storm Sewer Rates Going Up
After adopting the 2018 budget, the Village Board also acted on Sisel’s recommendation to raise usage rates for Denmark’s sewer system by 3%, impacting low-end users by $6 annually and high-end users by a little more than $20 annually.
Sisel said the Wastewater Treatment Plant is processing about 350,000 gallons of sewage every day. Waste haulers, who contribute between 20,000-50,000 gallons to the Plant total daily intake, will also be seeing an increase in the rates they pay for the public service. The Village must legally notify haulers of any increase in charges at least sixty days ahead of implementation and Sisel said a study will be conducted in the near future to determine what that increase will be.
The new $36.05 quarterly base charge and 5.04% charge on consumption for residents, effective March 15, 2018, is the first increase for sewer service in five years and both are well below state averages.