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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Cut Wausaukee Tax Rate By 60 Cents Per $1,000

Issue Date: November 29, 2018

Following a sparsely attended budget hearing on Tuesday, Nov, 27, Wausaukee Village Board adopted a 2019 annual budget that meets all village needs and results in a tax rate that is 60 cent per $1,000 less than last year. Clerk Treasurer Sara Pullen said this happened despite a $332,000 drop in the village's equalized value, and was possible because of the reduction in the Wausaukee School District tax levy.

Net tax rate is $21.10 per $1,000 of assessed value, down from $21.70 a year ago. Of this, $9.62 is to support the village budget, up 32 cents from last year. However, the school levy comes to $6.52 per $1,000, which is down $1.02 from last year. The NWTC levy is 78 cents per $1,000, down two cents, and the Marinette County levy is $4.18 per $1,000, up 9 cents per $1,000 from a year ago.

The budget sets the village levy at $264,943, up $6,027 from last year. It provides $20,000 for capital purchases, $30,209 for culture and recreation, which includes the $3,300 library contributions plus expenditures for parks and recreation programs and events. Also included is $91,699 for debt service, $144,774 for general government, $224 for law enforcement, $97,159.50 for fire protection, and $16,308 for ambulance and EMS. The public works allocation totals $193,295.50.

The only member of the public to address the board at the budget hearing was Roger Jicha, who questioned some figures in the published budget notice, namely spending $241,000 under Conservation and Development, when the budget allocated $9,000. Pullen explained this was covered by a corresponding increase in intergovernmental revenue, which received money from a Community Development Bloc Grant and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in connection with the Hwy. 141 reconstruction and beautification projects.

The evening started with a 5 p.m. public hearing on a request to abandon portions of Kennedy Street and Fugate Road submitted in October by adjoining property owners DeLaet Enterprises and Norm Leblanc. All affected property owners were notified in advance of the hearing, and the only member of the public on hand to express an interest was Linda Barrett, on behalf of her brother, Norm LeBlanc.

Leblanc and DeLaet had requested the abandonment because the street and road run through their properties. The original resolution was introduced to the Village Board on Oct. 17, and at that time the board agreed to set up the public hearing and proceed with considering the request.

At its meeting following the hearings the Village Board approved the resolution to abandon the described streets. The enabling resolution includes a statement that the village Board finds that these public public ways are not deemed necessary for public travel. The right of way abandonment will now go to Marinette County Board for approval before becoming final.

At the regular monthly Village Board meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 14 Village President Hilbert Radtke noted the winter parking ban would take effect on Thursday, Nov. 15 and run through April 1, 2019. Parking on any street or highway between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. is prohibited to allow for safe and optimal snowplowing and snow removal.

Radtke reminded residents that they are responsible for shoveling their sidewalks and encouraged everyone to keep fire hydrants on or near their property shoveled out.

Radtke also presented a prepared a statement regarding the new well, in which he declared, "The Village was awarded a $500,000 grant for a new well. We will seek financing for our portion of the expense ($500,000) through the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program with possible principal forgiveness of up to 30%. By law, the Village's fiscal responsibility for the new well project cannot go on the tax roll and cannot be paid for by tax dollars. This project will not increase your taxes in any way, shape or form. The project will be paid for by rate payers over a period of years."

He also said he had heard many stories around the community regarding the Evergreen Park Improvement Project, and wanted to help everyone understand it better. In a prepared statement he explained:

"The Village has received a grant for $295,000 to improve the Park. The Village has also established a line of credit at Stephenson National Bank and Trust for up to $300,000 to cover our portion of the expense. The line of credit can be repaid over the course of several years. The proposed income of $60,000 a year at half capacity is REAL.

"Marinette County parks were at or near capacity this year reporting revenues of $50,000 more than last year. The new design and amenities at [Evergreen Park] will give us the potential to welcome seasonal campers as we'll offer sewer and water hook-ups, 50 amp electric service, ADA compliant shower and restroom facilities, and a fishing platform on a great trout stream.

"A park in the woods within walking distance of a Village that offers food, shopping, and entertainment has much to offer campers who seek a county-type setting but don't want to forgo the conveniences of home. In addition, we are centrally located for tourists looking to take part in the waterfall tours or visit the numerous lakes and rivers. We anticipate that the increased camping fees alone will pay the loan " NOT tax dollars.

"Remember, someone may visit our Village, decide they like it here and build a home, buy a house or start a business. I always thank Ed Townsend for coming to Wausaukee and starting Décor Products."

The Board heard comments from members of the audience offering their opinions of pursuing a planning grant for possible reuse of the Stephenson National Bank and Trust building, construction of a new well, housing development, and improvements to Evergreen Park.

Present for the meeting in addition to Radtke were trustees Mack McKim, Ray Gordon, and Pat Tracy, plus Clerk/Treasurer Sara Pullen, Deputy Clerk/Treasurer Barb Pociask, Public Works Supervisor Dennis Whitton, Jr., WWTP OIC Jeff Mayou, WWTP OIT Tylor Stumbris, Trista Hobbs of U.P. Engineers, Ruth Jicha, Roger Jicha, Joellen Simpson, Pat Brien, Vernon Schroeder, Patricia Schroeder, John Christ, Diane Christ, Darryll Schmidt, and Rosie Figas. Trustees Joleen Christ, Randy Schmidt, and Kyle Stumbris were excused.

The board approved a Personnel Committee recommendation to add a $150 annual clothing reimbursement for Public Works part-time employees to the employee handbook.

The Board reviewed the Wausaukee Fire District quarterly report and without dissent approved the 2019 Wausaukee Fire District budget of $29,172.50.

After hearing the U.P. Engineers proposal for engineering services related to the Evergreen Park improvements the board agreed to go forward with it. They also agreed to consider a resolution at the December Board meeting declaring their intent to pay for all park improvements with campground and park revenues, not tax dollars.

They agreed to contract again with Nature's Edge Inspection Agency for building inspection services effective January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019.

They scheduled the Christmas decoration competition for Thursday, Dec. 13, with Gordon, Tracy, and Pullen as judges, and to award two $25 vouchers to randomly selected winners of the Wausaukee Lights for Christmas drawing.

They set the 2019 Independence Day Celebration for Saturday, July 6, 2019.

After completing regular business they convened to closed session to discuss employee evaluations and consider possible raises/promotions. After returning to open session they approved 3% raises for all employees effective January 1, 2019.


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