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Budget numbers not all in



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November 17, 2010 | 09:02 AM
Genoa City — It takes several factors for Village Treasurer Claudia Jurewicz to calculate what her community's tax rate will be.

On Monday, Jurewicz said she has some of the numbers, including the state and Walworth County levies.

All she's waiting on now is the school tax credit.

"Usually, we're a little more tweaked by the time we go to public hearing," Jurewicz said about the state of the numbers on the proposed 2011 village budget. "Not this year."

So she was reluctant to provide a tax rate estimate.

In the past, this credit has reduced the village's tax rate.

Last year, it cut $1.16 off the rate, which is per $1,000 of assessed value.

But Jurewicz said the credit amount fluctuates each year.

"That's why I don't know what the rate's going to be," she said.

However, if Jurewicz had to guess, she said she didn't expect a sizable tax rate increase.

"It might go up a little bit from last year, but I have no idea," she said.

Another crucial factor is whether the Village Board adopts the proposed budget.

The hearing is set for Thursday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m.

"Anything can happen at the hearing," Jurewicz said. "Nothing is set in stone."

At previous budget hearings, the board fielded questions from a few people in the audience and it was all over in about 20 minutes.

At others, after three-plus hours of criticism, board members whittled down numbers in the 11th hour.

Jurewicz said she hasn't received any calls since the proposed budget was published last week.

She said that's a surprise, considering the budget increased by 15.6 percent.

But Jurewicz emphasized the fact this is a "proposed" budget.

There are some capital projects in the budget she predicted may become a topic of conversation during the hearing. These projects include street repairs, tornado sirens and a new police squad car. Accordig to Jurewicz, it would be funded by a loan of about $193,000.

She said she also wouldn't be surprised if people mention salaries.

"They always discuss salaries — increases, what's not increases," Jurewicz said.

She said salaries often are seen as a variable. However, Jurewicz said that's only to a certain extent.

"There are unions involved," she said.

Police officers and Village Public Works Department employees are union, Jurewicz said.

Although she offered her own opinion, she said it's up in the air whether these projects — and the loan — make it into the final budget.

"Everything can change, but I'm hoping (the projects) stay," Jurewicz said. "They are things that need to get done."

Nevertheless, the annual budget is something on which Jurewicz and other village officials spend several hours. She said she usually starts working on it in August.

"For me, at least, I'd say from the beginning of August until now, I put in about one full day a week toward the budget," Jurewicz said. "Some weeks, maybe not, but other weeks I may do more than a day. It's a lot of hours."

Several hours of preparation, research and dealing with numbers — all to wait to hear what other village residents think at the public hearing.

"It will be interesting to see what happens on Thursday," Jurewicz said.

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