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Kirch (click for larger version)
November 25, 2013 | 11:37 AM
GENEVA — If the calculations are correct and the town's proposed 2014 budget is approved, the tax rate will go up about a penny.

On Nov. 20, town clerk-treasurer Debra Kirch said the tax rate is estimated at $2.17 per $1,000 of assessed value. That means the owner of property worth $200,000 would pay $434 to the town. Portions of a town of Geneva property owner's tax bill also go toward the state, Walworth County, Gateway Technical College and local school districts.

In an email Nov. 20, town chairman Joe Kopecky said the town's share represents "less than 10 percent of a total tax bill, the remaining 90 percent going to other areas of government and education. Based on that fact, it should be obvious that towns are very frugal spenders."

People can have their say about the 2014 budget proposal and ask questions Monday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m., during a public hearing.

A summary of the 2014 budget proposal was published in last week's Regional News. Kirch said it was harder to create this budget proposal than previous ones because the tax levy could only increase 0.38 percent — or $6,566 — according to state mandates.

And in 2014, there are some sizable expenditures on tap, such as a $150,000 weed harvester.

"We had a hard time with trying not to take out loans (to fund purchases), which we did accomplish," Kirch

How? By taking some money from the town's nonlapsing funds and by cutting other budget areas, she said.

General government expenditures in the 2014 proposal are listed at $384,853.

The 2013 budget had it at $393,545.

Kirch said that decrease was largely due to taking money out of an account established to fund future maintenance of town buildings.

The town also saved money by not putting as much into the nonlapsing funds next year.

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In 2013, $169,500 was budgeted to go into those funds.

The 2014 budget proposal calls for putting in $60,500.

Kirch said the town wants to purchase two highway department trucks next year.

Kopecky said money for the trucks is "something that we have been saving for" in the nonlapsing accounts.

Kirch said one of those highway department trucks will be sold. That's why investment income in the 2014 budget proposal is shown to go up from $2,000 to $18,500 next year.

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As for the weed harvester, the town has two, but one is getting old and town officials want to replace it, Kirch said. They are looking at purchasing a smaller weed harvester, "one that can get at weeds around the piers better," she said.

"The weed harvester will be partially purchased with monies set aside in a designated nonlapsing account which has been funded from various sources — annual town revenues, donations from the annual FunFestival proceeds, donations from the (Lake Como) committees and the future estimated sale price of the existing harvest which is to be replaced," Kopecky said. "We are depending on a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources grant to cover 50 percent of the cost of the harvester and related equipment. If we do not receive the grant, we will not be in a position to purchase this piece of equipment this year and will need to reconsider this item relative to future fiscal financing arrangements and grant applications."

The town's share of this expense, assuming it receives the grant, is why conservation and development expenditures are shown as increasing from $42,957 to $112,184.

Other line items in the proposed 2014 budget summary include:

n Public safety: Up from $991,286 to more than $1.01 million.

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n Public works: Up $798,873 to $892,290.

n Revenue from charges for services: Up from $351,996 to $381,854. However, the estimated actual amount for this item in 2013 is $415,665.


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