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New state law presents funding challenge

Nov. 5, 2012

Town of Lisbon - Town residents will be asked at next week's annual meeting to approve a proposed tax levy of $3.4 million that results in an increase to the tax rate of 3 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation for 2013.

The annual budget meeting is at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, at Hamilton High School.

Meanwhile, town officials are emphasizing that the financial challenges they face are the result of a new state law and not because of the town's fiscal condition.

"We are not broke. We have sufficient reserves. We can spend money on capital projects. The difficulty is raising revenues for day-to-day operating expenses," explained Town Chairman Matt Gehrke.

For example, Gehrke explained, the town cannot contract for a Waukesha County Sheriff's Department deputy to work a third shift because it costs about $200,000 for the equipment, administrative support and salary and benefits for the deputy.

Spending the $200,000 would require a tax levy higher than the levy limit imposed by the state. The only alternative for the town would be a referendum permitting the town to spend above the limit, according to Gehrke.

The state imposed levy limit is linked to new construction growth in the community. New construction growth represents about a 0.75-percent growth increase, according to Town Administrator Jeff Musche.

The tax levy represents the total amount of real estate tax revenues the town proposes to raise. The tax rate represents the individual homeowner's share of the levy.

State law also requires that town residents approve the tax levy, highway expenditures, and establish salaries for elected officials.

If the levy and highway expenditures are approved at the annual meeting, the Town Board is expected to adopt a $6.3 million town budget for 2013.

The budget includes a 2.5-percent pay increase for most town employees and an increase in employee contributions to health insurance from 10 percent to between 15 and 20 percent, depending on insurance coverage, according to town officials.

By the numbers

2013 proposed general operation fund: $4,270,223

2012 operating fund: $4,288,018

Percent change: -0.41 percent

2013 tax levy: $3,423,906

2012 tax levy: $3,364,773

Percent change: 1.74 percent

2013 tax rate: $2.99 per $1,000 of assessed value

2012 tax rate: $2.96 per $1,000 of assessed value

Percent change: 1.01 percent

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Country Christmas Outdoor Drive-through Lights Display: Nov. 27-30, Dec. 5-31. Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee. Wisconsin’s largest drive-through holiday lights event features more than a million holiday lights along a mile-long trail that winds through the woods, Includes animated figures and holiday scenes. Call (262) 970-5398 for details. $15-$25. $15 per carload, $25 limo, mini-coach or large van. www.thecountrychristmas.com

 World’s Greatest Cookie Sale: Noon-4 p.m.  Nov. 28, Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee. Sale features homemade holiday cookies and baked goods in many varieties. Entertainment includes magic shows, cookie and cupcake decorating, face painting, holiday coloring contest and Santa and Mrs. Claus. Sale ends at 4 p.m. For more information on the World’s Greatest Cookie Sale, call Country Springs, (262) 547-0201 or visit thecountrychristmas.com/cookiesale. Free.

 German Christmas Market: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Nov. 28, 29 and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 30, Downtown Oconomowoc, 100 E. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc. Celebrate Wisconsin’s heritage at this family festival that features heated tents, German beer, music, live bands, authentic German food, vendors, Santa and more. Free http://www.germanchristmasmarket.org. 

 Oconomowoc Winter Farmers Market: 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 30, Oconomowoc Landscape Supply & Garden Center, County Road K, Oconomowoc. Features local seasonally grown produce and artisan food products.  www.oconomowoc.org.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

All weekend happenings.