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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Mayor Malke back on Duty

Mayor Cathi Malke Back To Work At Peshtigo City Hall

Issue Date: November 25, 2020

On Wednesday, Nov. 25, Peshtigo Mayor Cathi Malke will be back to her regular duties at Peshtigo City Hall. Malke will preside over the city's annual budget hearing at 11 a.m. and the special Council meeting that follows to adopt the 2021 budget and set the tax levy to support it. Tax rate is expected to be $4.99 per $1,000 of assessed value, almost exactly the same as last year. The proposed budget is up just 1.034 percent, from $2,594,148 for 2020 to $2,649,989 for 2021. Also at the special meeting council is expected to approve a Finance and Claims Committee recommendation to set a recycling user fee of $40 annually.

Wednesday's set of meetings will be the first time since late July that Malke has been able to lead a City Council session. After being stricken with Covid-19 in late July she spent two months in hospitals, followed by five weeks of recuperation at Rennes West Health Care Center in Peshtigo and then a few more weeks regaining strength at home. Her time in the hospital included three weeks under sedation while on a ventilator.

Malke said it is great to finally be able to finally resume her mayoral duties. She thanked her family and the entire community for all the thoughts, prayers and expressions of support that helped her during her illness and recuperation.

Malke also thanks Alderman Mike Behnke, members of the City Council, and Clerk/Treasurer Tammy Kasal and Deputy Clerk/Treasurers, Tracy Jandt and Rebecca Barrett for their extra help.

Alderman Mike Behnke, who serves as Council president, handled duties of mayor during Malke's illness. He and the rest of the Council worked long and hard with Clerk/Treasurer Tammy Kasal to get the budget ready for publication and adoption before tax bills will need to go out in early December.

As proposed for adoption, the budget provides for a city property tax levy of $808,964, up from $729,998 last year

Council's Finance and Claims Committee met for a long, hard meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 10 to review the 2020 budget, discuss the municipal levy limit and debt service levy and finalize the proposed budget for 2021. Making the budget balance and keeping the tax rate approximately the same without exceeding the state levy limits involves planned borrowing to finance capital investments.

At the Nov. 10 meeting the Finance and Claims Committee worked its way through departmental budgets, shaving money wherever they felt possible off proposed budgets requested by department heads.

These included the Police Department budget, with cuts to Education/ Training from $4,000 to $3,000 with less in person training due to COVID19; Professional Services from $7,500 to $5,000; Equipment Maintenance Service from $10,000 to $6,000; Clothing/ Uniforms from $7,000 to $5,000; Gas/ Oil/ Grease from $14,000 to $12,000; Motor Vehicle Parts from $6,000 to $4,000; Equipment from $1,500 to $1,000; Weapons and Ammunition from $3,000 to $2,500, and Police Chief salary, benefits and wages from $71,560 to $69,370 . The budget for part-time Patrolmen was raised from $14,000 to $19,000. Despite the cuts, total budget for the police department was increased from $640,931 budgeted for 2020 to $685,629 proposed for 2021. Actual Police Department spending for 2020 during the first eight months of 2020 has totaled $466,064.

The Public Works budget was cut from the requested $8,000 to $5,000 in the category of Garbage Collection Vehicle, and Health and Human Services allocation increased from the proposed budget of $50,890 to $52,890. This was due to a request from Riverside Cemetery Association for a $4,800 increase from their 2020 allocation. Committee members agreed to meet in the middle with an increase of $2,000 versus the requested $4,800.

Budgets approved as submitted included General Government at $303,697; Parks and Recreation at $186,735, up from $177,368 budgeted for last year; Conservation and Development at $25,083; Capital Outlay at $129,683 and Debt Service at $236,000, up from $222,000 budgeted for 2020.

Final department budgets that were affected by changes included a decrease in Public Safety budget, due to the deductions in the Police Department category, from the total proposed budget of $773,194 down to $759,504; Public Works with a decrease to $956,397 versus proposed amount of $959,397 and an increase of $2,000 to the Health and Human Services budget from the proposed budget of $50,890 to $52,890 due to the Cemetery request.

Overall, the changes brought the total expenditures budget for 2021 to $2,649,989, less revenues of $1,841,025, leaving the levy at $808,964. The allowable levy is $572,964 with a result of $236,000 over the levy. The major revenue increase was in public charges, where the 2020 budget predicted $75,675 of revenue and the 2021 budget predicts $121,515 revenue. There is a major hike in the "miscellaneous revenues" category, from $56,100 budgeted for 20220 to $576,600 budgeted for 2021.

In finalizing the budget, the committee set the Debt Levy to maintain the current tax rate and is asking Council to approve a new $40 annual user fee for recycling carts. Overall, the budget provides a 1.034 percent increase in both revenues and expenses, and provides for expenditures of $2,649,989 for 2021, up from $2,594,148 budgeted for 2020.


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