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Budget forecast looking stagnant


Officials predict village's tax rate may, at best, stay the same


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Jurewicz (click for larger version)

November 13, 2012 | 03:31 PM
GENOA CITY — In spite of there not being an estimated tax rate yet or a finalized 2013 budget, the forecast for the village looks fair.

During separate telephone interviews Monday, Genoa City Village President John Wrzeszcz and Clerk-Treasurer Claudia Jurewicz said the levy won't increase.

Although Wrzeszcz said he doesn't expect the tax rate to increase from what it was last year, Jurewicz said she hasn't calculated an estimate.

She was busy, after all, with last week's presidential election.

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"But it won't change much," Jurewicz said, predicting the tax rate estimate for this year, "because the levy stayed the same."

So, if this year's tax rate holds at last year's $8.68 per $1,000 of equalized value, that means the owner of Genoa City property worth $150,000 would pay the village $1,302.

The village is just one taxing entity, however. Portions of a taxpayer's bill also go toward the state, Walworth County, Brookwood School District and Gateway Technical College.

However, there's no official tax rate estimate yet. Jurewicz said she plans to have one to announce at the village's budget hearing Monday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m.

Expenditures

If the village board approves it, the proposed 2013 budget will increase by 9.278 percent —from $2,163,515 to $2,364,243.

Wrzeszcz said they tried not to increase the budget and made cuts where they could.

"The big challenge was trying to keep the budget down as low as we could and try to still provide the services the village needs," Wrzeszcz said.

About half of what the village spends will go to public safety — police, fire and emergency services.

If the budget is approved, the cost for these services will increase from $1,083,448 to $1,176,726, an 8.609-percent jump.

But that's not the largest expenditure increase that's being proposed.

Jurewicz said the reason the health and welfare line item in the recently published notice went up from $8,901 to $46,251 — almost 420 percent — is an upcoming Hillside Cemetery project.

"We're redoing the roads up there," she said. "It's going to cost about $31,000 to redo them."

Another street project on the docket is prompting a nearly 20-percent increase in the expenditures listed for general government.

If the proposed 2013 budget is OK'd Nov. 19, that line item will jump from $276,657 to $331,758.

"We're planning a small street project for next year," Jurewicz said.

Expected to cost about $80,000, the project involves improvements to Gregory Drive, Bonnie Lane and Joyce and Ann streets.

Another nearly 20-percent increase is for debt service, which is projected to go up $169,792 to $203,538.

"We had to take out a small note last year," Jurewicz said.

Why? Capital improvements, she said, such as the recent Village Hall repairs and beautification project, to fix the façade of the fire station, to rebuild the tennis courts in Veterans Park and to install tornado sirens.

That last one was in compliance with the results of an April 2011 referendum.

The question: Should the village discontinue the use of emergency sirens altogether, rather than spend approximately $56,000 to add more siren locations, enabling them to be heard outdoors throughout the village?

The majority voted "no" 280-162.

So how is it that expenditures may increase and village officials are saying the tax rate impact could be minimal — if any?

"We did a lot of cutting," Wrzeszcz said. "And we used impact fee money. … Each department has done a good job coming up with their budgets."

He said the budget also includes a 3-percent salary increase to most village employees.

Jurewicz said impact fees will pay for some projects, such as the Hillside Cemetery road improvements.

That can be seen under the revenue line item for "miscellaneous" in the published notice.

Miscellaneous revenue may increase from $640,730 to $800,894, nearly a 25-percent jump.

However, she said the village also will need to borrow money to complete the roughly $80,000 road reconstruction project.

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