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Drop in budget leads to only slight tax hike in Village of Mukwonago

Park and rec, recycling fee changes expected

Nov. 6, 2012

Village of Mukwonago - While rising costs and decreasing revenues posed a challenge as the village grappled with the 2013 budget, department heads came in with "fair, honest and appropriate budgets" to help balance the 2013 village budget, according to Village Clerk/Treasurer Steve Braatz.

Residents will get a look at the proposed 2013 budget at a public hearing at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Village Hall, where the proposed $9 million budget for 2013 will be presented.

The budget, $800,000 less than the 2012 budget of $9.8 million, reflects losing another $60,000 from transportation aid and shared revenue from the state for 2013, on top of the $135,000 lost in 2012.

Residents will see a 1.2-percent increase to the 2012 tax levy, going from nearly $4.8 million in 2011 to almost $4.85 in 2012.

The tax rate has not yet been determined, as the village waits for additional information, Braatz said.

Recycling fee

According to Braatz, one change residents will see in the budget is shifting a portion of the recycling fee from the tax levy to an annual fee for residential collection.

In 2013, it will cost the village $167.40 per year per household to collect garbage and recycling, Braatz explained. Rather than charge the entire amount to residents, the Village Board softened the hit by charging $50 of the $167.40.

By shifting from taxes to a fixed fee for a user-based service, businesses and vacant property won't pay taxes for a service they do not receive as happens when garbage and recycling costs remain part of the tax levy. Additionally, a property owner with a $350,000 house is essentially paying twice as much for refuse collection as an owner with a $175,000 house, even if both produce the same amount of garbage, Braatz said.

Joint park and rec

The 2013 budget also includes the village partnering with the Town of Mukwonago Recreation Department via a three-year contract to determine how the partnership will work and all of the appropriate costs.

As part of that partnership, the town Recreation Department will take over scheduling the numerous baseball teams that use village parks. The village Department of Public Works will take over field preparation. In turn, village residents will be charged "resident" prices for all town rec programs, reducing costs for existing village residents and hopefully allowing new village residents to participate in programs, according to Braatz.

Additionally, town residents will be able to rent village parks at resident rates.

The joint venture is expected to increase revenue for park usage and reduce the effect the increasing use of village parks has on the village clerk's office by allowing Town Park and Rec Director Toby Monogue to manage park and recreation issues. This will also allow the village DPW to manage proper maintenance of village property, including weed spraying, and should allow the town Park and Rec Department and DPW to have access to equipment for park maintenance, which it currently doesn't have, according to Braatz.

Other changes include a proposed increase in funding for economic development, going from $10,000 to $55,000 in 2013 to assist the Highway 83 Stakeholders Advisory Committee to deal with increasing economic development issues.

The village DPW will lease a new street sweeper for five years with money from existing funds, Braatz added.

The 2013 budget will also include a joint purchase with the Town of Mukwonago of a new ladder truck for the Fire Department. The truck would either be leased or purchased, depending on the route the town chooses for acquiring the new truck. The village has funds for its portion of the truck, so there would be no effect on the 2013 tax levy, Braatz said.

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