Three City of Delafield projects could stir controversy in Nov. 5 public hearing
Hearing on $13 million budget slated for Nov. 5
City of Delafield - Although there is apparently no disagreement over the dollars and cents in it, the $13 million budget proposed for 2013 might be one of the most controversial in the city's recent history because of three capital improvement projects.
The three projects and the budget, which would raise real estate tax revenues by about 1 percent, will be the subject of a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5, at City Hall.
The projects include the widening and repaving of Milwaukee Street from Oneida Street to Main Street at a proposed cost of $900,000. Some residents along Milwaukee Street object to the project because it replaces some drainage ditches with curbs and gutters, and there is the potential that some trees along the street might be damaged or destroyed as a result of the construction.
Also included in the budget is $600,000 proposed to pay the city's share of developing a silt catch basin on the Bark River inlet at Lake Nagawicka.
Lake shore residents and the Lake Welfare Committee want the city to share the cost of that project with homeowners. The project would develop the basin to reduce silt from the river, although the idea of public funding for the basin has been twice rejected by city voters in referendum.
The capital improvements budget also includes a proposal to widen, possibly include three roundabouts, and resurface Golf Road, east from Highway 83 past the Shoppes of Nagawaukee and Nagwaukee Center shopping centers to the border between the city and Town of Delafield.
The developers of the shopping centers as well as some business owners have opposed the reconstruction of Golf Road. However, some city officials think the reconstruction is necessary to eliminate dangerous turns on the busy street.
There is no money for the project proposed in 2013, but there is about $250,000 in design and engineer costs for 2014 and 2015 in the budget, in addition to $2.3 million for construction in 2016.
Mayor Ed McAlleer said he anticipates discussion during the public hearing about Milwaukee Street and the dredging project, but he does not anticipate much debate over the Golf Road project.
"I don't think it is on anybody's radar yet. There is nothing anticipated for 2013," he added.
An approximately $1.8 million increase in proposed capital projects for 2013 compared to 2012 accounts for the largest share of spending increases in another wise no-spending-growth budget.
The increase in proposed capital projects has no effect on the 2013 tax levy and rates because most of the projects, which have yet to be approved, are paid for by either borrowing money or with future general fund expenses.
The proposed real estate tax levy for 2013 is about $5.82 million, compared to about $5.75 million for 2012. The $65,942 difference accounts for an increase of 1.15 percent.
The levy helps pay for a general operating budget of about $5.3 million compared to $5.34 million in 2012. About $1.9 million in real estate taxes is devoted to paying off debt. City sewer, water, and stormwater control facilities total another $2.3 million in expenses but nearly all of that is paid for by user fees rather than real estate taxes.
The tax levy represents the total amount of real estate tax revenues raised by the city. The tax rate represents the share of the taxes paid by individual homeowners based on the assessed valuation of their homes.
The tax rate will increase by about 4 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or about 1 percent. According to budget documents, the rate for 2013 will be $4.35 per $1,000 assessed valuation, compared to $4.31 in 2012.
Included in the budget is a new two-year labor contract for the city's 14 police officers. The officers will receive pay raises totaling 6.4 percent during the life of the contract; however they will be expected to increase their contribution to their retirement benefits by about 3 percent in the first year of the contract and about 6 percent in the second year.
Other municipal employees are budgeted for similar pay increases, according to city officials.
The budget also formalizes the merging of the city administrator and public works director positions at an estimated savings of about $132,000. Interim City Administrator/Public Works Director Tom Hafner is expected to be hired for the position, but negotiations between Hafner and the city are not final, according to McAleer.
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