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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo Council Adopts 2021 Budget As Proposed

Issue Date: December 2, 2020

At a brief and sparsely attended meeting following an 11 a.m. public hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 25, Peshtigo City Council, with no dissenting votes, adopted the 2021 budget and tax levy to support it as proposed by the Finance Committee.

The budget provides for expenditures totaling $2,649,989, up just 1.034 percent from last year, and a city tax rate of just under $5 per $1,000 of assessed value, up less than half a cent over last year's $4.99 per $1,000. The only increase came in the form of a $40 per year fee for the first recycling container at each address.

The total tax levy of $808,964 includes $236,000 for loan payments, which brings it within the $572,964 levy limit set by Wisconsin State law.

Overall, tax bills that go out in December for city properties will total roughly $20.33 for each $1,000 of equalized value. Of that $9.47 is for Peshtigo School District, $4.96 for Marinette County, and 91 cents for NWTC in addition to the approximately $5 per $1,000 city levy.

Mayor Cathi Malke called the public hearing to order at 11 a.m. It was her first public function as mayor since being stricken by Covid-19 in July. Others present in person for the meeting were aldermen Debbie Sievert and Richard Berth and Clerk/Treasurer Tammy Kasal. Participating by phone were Aldermen Archer Leupp, Brigitte Schmidt and Mike Behnke, who is recovering from back surgery, attended remotely from his hospital bed.

No one spoke for or against the proposed budget, and the hearing was closed.

The proposed budget and recommendation for the recycling fee increase were worked out by the Finance Committee at a long hard session after deliberations at various committee meetings in recent weeks.

Sievert, reporting as Finance and Claims Committee chair, asked Council to approve the $40 annual recycling fee.

Malke, noting she had not been present for the various committee budget deliberations, asked why the recycling fee is needed.

Sievert said the committee goal had been to keep the tax levy as even as possible, and then turned the question over to Kasal, who explained that stating in 2019 there was a substantial increase in price of the recycling contract. The city had sought bids, and got proposals from only two firms, both substantially higher than the original contract. The city accepted the lowest bid, but even that totaled a $30,000 increase in the cost of recycling collection and disposal in a two year period. Kasal said the $40 annual recycling fee will generate slightly more than the $30,000 needed to cover this year's price increase, but the new 3-year contract calls for a slight the price increase each year.

After the explanation, all aldermen voted in favor of the recycling fee and budget as proposed.

In response to questions after the meeting, Kasal said the $40 annual fee covers only the first cart issued to each address. Anyone needing an additional cart will be charged a $5 annual administration fee plus $5.15 each month, a total of $66.80 per year per cart, to cover the full cost of recycling.

The budget provides $303,697 for general government, $759,504 for public safety (mainly fire and police departments, plus as $5,000 donation for the Rescue Squad), $52,890 for health and human services ( which includes $2,000 of the $4,800 increase requested by Riverside Cemetery Association), $186,735 or parks and recreation, $25,083 for conservation and development, $129,683 for capital outlay, and $236,000 for debt service.


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