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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Wagner Road Budget Up 30%, Tax Rate Down

Issue Date: December 5, 2019

Wagner town officials and all 13 members of the public present for the annual meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 19 voted without dissent to adopt the 2020 town budget as proposed - with a 30 percent increase in the allocation for public works - mainly road construction. Even with that additional provision for road improvements, the budget results in a 5 cent cut in the town's tax rate, which drops from $2.70 to $2.65 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Town officials present for the 12-minute budget hearing and annual meeting were Chairperson Steve Renikow, Sr., Supervisors Mollie Arthur and Ed Delfosse, Treasurer Linda Larochelle, and Clerk Cassie Brown.

In presenting the proposed 2020 budget, Brown explained that the format was changed this year to mirror the state accounting format and uniform chart of accounts.

She noted the proposed levy amount of $267,237 resulted in a 5 cent per thousand decrease from the 2018 mill rate.

Reasons the decrease was possible include an increase in state grants for local road improvements and maintenance increased for 2020, Managed Forest Land (MFL) revenue was adjusted in the 2020 budget to mirror actual revenue received, and miscellaneous revenue estimates were based on actual activity.

The carry-over general fund balance includes all estimated available funds at year end, and the proposed budget keeps this unchanged, at $176,000.

Brown said the elections budget was increased due to there being 3 or 4 elections in 2020, since that is the year for presidential elections.

The budget for highway and street maintenance was increased due to road repair being a focal point in 2020. Also, the Town is applying for several project grants under a new program through which the town can be reimbursed for 90 percent of the cost. Renikow explained that if these grants are obtained, the town will have to pay the cost initially and then be reimbursed, and must be able ro provide the 10 percent match.

There was $40,000 kept in the capital outlay budget for possible Fire Department building repairs.

It was noted that the Wisconsin Towns Association suggests leaving 10 percent in the budget for contingencies, and Brown explained that the contingency budget of $30,000 is just over 10% of the levy.

A $30,000 reserve for a public works truck was included as a new provision in the budget for 2020.

Patty Michels asked if snow removal was included in the highway budget. Brown and Renikow both stated, yes, all of the road maintenance costs were included in the budget total.

Patty Michels also asked where wages for the Recycling Center employees were listed were listed in the budget. Brown replied these wages are split between solid waste and recycling under the sanitation budget. Other public works expenses includes road man wages.

Motion to approve the 2019 town tax levy of $267,237 to support the budget for 2020 was made by Darcy Hermes, seconded by Mike Caylor and passed with no negative votes.

That meeting adjourned, and at 6:30 p.m. the board convened for its regular monthly meeting.

Brown stated the Town's renewal for the 2020 assessment contract was received. The contracted amount did not change, but the contract needs to be signed by the town chair.

Brown reported the town received $1,200 for the computer grant, and one of the requirements is a roundtable security training that the clerk must attend. This training will be held in Green Bay Thursday, Dec. 12 starting at 9 a.m. Motion to approve Brown's attendance with mileage and per diem paid was approved. The board was advised that Treasurer Linda Larochelle's computer has been updated with no issues.

During time for public input Larochelle reported on the quilting raffle that was to be put on by the Historical Society on Sunday, Dec. 1.

In her monthly treasurer's report ending October 31, Larochelle discussed the Town's ending cash balances including a disbursement for the Fire Department's new truck, and subsequent need to replenish the balance in the town's checking account, so $60,000 was transferred from the money market account to the checking account.

It had been confirmed that the tax issue with the escrow account was taken care of in 2018. The Town closed that account and transferred the funds to the checking account in November of 2019.

Mike Caylor reported the Fire Department had two calls since the last meeting, one for standby and one for trees down on wires. Man hours for maintenance and training totaled 81, including time spent on the Halloween Party.

Renikow asked if time for the Halloween party was paid, and Caylor said this time was volunteered. The Halloween party had a large attendance, with an estimated 25 children, and the "trunk or treat" event was a success. Darcy Hermes was recognized for the time she had spent on the annual party. The Historical Society donated $200 and Jeff Lindbom donated $20 as well.

Caylor reported the tender and brush truck 1 are both in service and over time will be used for crash and rescue as well as fires.

All state mandated testing is now complete. The Fall Gun Raffle was held on Sat., Nov. 30 at The Heritage.

As a final item on his report, Caylor noted the Fire Department is still taking applications for volunteers.

Renikow stated scrap iron was hauled from the recycling center and he had to pick up several mattresses that were dumped at a dead-end road. In road work, patching was done on some areas of Old Rail Road. The fence is almost done at the Recycling Center.

There was a question regarding how much revenue is being generated by the new fees. Brown stated an average of $50 to $80 is collected each weekend. Also, Renikow commented there has been a noticeable difference in the number of items brought to the Recycling Center since the charges were implemented.

Don Willan asked if there has been an increase in trash being dumped on the roads, and Renikow there has been some but not a significant increase.

Animal Control Officer Jerry Micksch stated there were no calls.

Supervisor Ed Delfosse stated he contacted UES for an estimate on the cost of surveillance cameras for the recycling center. A technician evaluated the site and quoted an estimate of $1,225.97, which would include installation labor, 300 feet of cable, the cameras and the monitor. Renikow said since the town does not have an internet connection at the Recycling Center they could not have a remote monitor.

There were questions regarding the impact of weather conditions on the monitor. The technician did not think it would be an issue, but Supervisor Ed Delfosse will confirm. The fence is 99% complete, but needs to be closed off. This will be completed immediately following the installation of the cameras.

Linda Wilke asked if the town has issues with people dumping after hours. Renikow said this has been an issue, but the fence is already resolving that. Also, the cameras are expected to make a difference as they will catch people throwing items over the fence.

Darcy Hermes questioned if there will be consequences if caught on camera. Renikow said yes, they will be turned in for littering.

Once the fencing and cameras are complete the Recycling Center will be open on Wednesday evenings from 3 to 6 p.m. to serve residents who cannot get there during the current Saturday hours.

Rita Renikow asked about the total cost of the fencing, and Renikow stated the estimated cost of material is $800. Motion to approve camera installation upon verification of ability to withstand weather conditions was then approved without dissent.

Renikow announced that the Recycling Center would be closed on the opening weekend of deer season. Brown said after the meeting that this was done for the safety of recycling center employees and the public.

Renikow said poll workers are needed for terms that will run from January 2020 through December 31 of 2021. Anyone interested was invited to provide a written letter of intent to Clerk Cassie Brown prior to the next meeting. These can be mailed to the Town Hall or e-mailed to townofwagnerclerk@yahoo.com. Brown stated they need at least seven people for the upcoming term. The poll workers will be approved at the December board meeting and sworn in prior to the end of the year.

The next monthly board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11.


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