Going by percentages, the Village of DeForest is experiencing more growth in 2019 than any other community in Dane County, according to preliminary figures from the state.

“We’re at 6.56 percent growth,” said Village Administrator Steve Fahlgren. “The nearest one is (the Village of) McFarland at 5.53 percent. Everyone else is in the 4s or less.”

At the DeForest Village Board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 6, Fahlgren shared news of DeForest’s growth gleaned from preliminary state equalized value numbers.

Trustee Jason Kramar said, “We’re the fastest growing community in Dane County,” and Fahlgren responded, “Percentage-wise, definitely.”

The Village of Windsor is also one of top five in Dane County, growing at 4.45 percent. That put Windsor just behind Sun Prairie, sitting in third with 5.22 percent growth. The Town of Blue Mounds is fifth with 4.26 percent.

DeForest’s equalized value in 2018 was $1,208,063,100, and the village’s net new construction for 2019 is $79,301,200, which represents 6.56 percent growth. That puts DeForest fourth in Dane County dollar-wise in growth, as Fahlgren told the board.

According to the state’s preliminary numbers, the City of Madison is No. 1 dollar-wise with $641,177,800 in net new construction, while the City of Sun Prairie was second at $172,752,000 and the City of Fitchburg was third at $110,271,500. In 2018, they had had equalized values of $28,727,407,800, $3,310,111,700 and $3,135,272,200, respectively.

With regard to percentages, the City of Madison is growing at 2.23 percent.

Last year, DeForest had 9.22 percent growth, according to Fahlgren, as some bigger businesses moved into the village.

“We don’t necessarily want that kind of growth every year, but when it’s manufacturing, it’s okay,” said Fahlgren.

Still, this is all good news for DeForest. Fahlgren said the growth provides the village new tax base and can help pay off tax incremental districts. It also helps cover costs for infrastructure improvements and helps stimulate more growth.

Additionally, DeForest’s growth is taking place in different areas.

“It’s amazing all the good things we have going on here, and it’s diverse, too,” said Fahlgren. “It’s not just one type. It’s commercial, manufacturing, distribution, residential … it’s good stuff.”

Fahlgren explained that it’s like a stock portfolio, saying you don’t want to have all of your money in one stock if the market takes a hit in that area. It’s important to be leveraged by other areas. That’s the position DeForest is in.

“It’s a smart way to grow,” said Fahlgren.

Fahlgren told trustees that the equalized value numbers are a “huge piece of the puzzle” when it comes to the village’s budget. He said the budget is coming together and that he’ll be meeting with department heads in the next couple of weeks to wrap things up.

Even with the good news regarding growth, Fahlgren said the village still faces challenges with expenditures, but added, “ … we should be okay, much better than a lot of other communities.”

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