With Waunakee’s budget nearly complete, village officials have a clearer picture of the tax impact after the 2019 market revaluation.
Village Finance Director Renee Meinholz presented the draft 2020 budget to the village board at their meeting Monday and highlighted some of the key budgetary outcomes.
After the revaluation, the average increase in value on village properties rose by 22.5 percent, Meinholz said. The average home value is now $367,734, and the village portion of property taxes rose by $84 to $2,181.
The draft budget shows the village portion of property taxes per $100,000 of value at $593, a $23 increase.
As the various taxing jurisdictions such as Waunakee Community School District, Technical College and Dane County work on their budgets, their levies remain uncertain. The school district’s portion of the tax bill represents 52 percent of the property taxes; the village portion is 29 percent.
Also, Meinholz noted that the manufacturing assessment from the state is not yet complete. Municipal officials usually receive that the first week of November. Village staff included their own conservative estimate into the budget but added that the state’s manufacturing assessment has been “volatile,” Meinholz said.
The 2020 budget reflects several increases in expenditures, including the full impact of 2019 mid-year hires in departments such as the library. That amounted to an increase of $126,323.
EMS fees for the village also saw a 16 percent increase amounting to $37,787. Fire fees also increased by 33 percent, a $149,771 price tag to the village. Library operations for the new building also increased by $52,550. The village’s health and dental insurance program cost rose by $75,880. All resulted in a $442,320 increase in expenditures for the 2020 budget.
The budget also includes a 2.5 percent cost of living wage adjustment for village employees totaling $96,091 for personnel expenses.
Still, the budget stays within the village’s debt service policy and continues to maintain a healthy reserve, according to Meinholz’s presentation.
That policy requires the village’s debt serve to remain below 50 percent of the state limit of 5 percent of total property value. The village will be at 35.17 percent of the state limit at the end of 2019.
The village also has a policy of keeping the debt service below 30 percent of total village expenditures; currently it is at 18.14 percent.
Another policy requires the village keep the tax rate for debt below $2.25; currently it is at $1.39.
Meinholz presented a summary of the unassigned fund balance. Last year, village officials looked to reduce the percentage of this balance to 20 to 25 percent of the subsequent year’s operating expenditure budget in order to supplement the levy. In 2018 it was at 33 percent, $746,858 in excess.
The 2020 budget will use funds from that balance toward its PAYGO – a maintenance fund for parks, equipment and streets, to help fund health account payouts for retirees and for electronic equipment for elections. That will total $424,660.
Still, at the end of 2020, the village’s unassigned fund balance is estimated to be just over $3.8 million or 39 percent of the subsequent year’s unassigned balance.
Meinholz explained the increase, noting that Tax Incremental Finance District No. 5, the historic downtown district, had been struggling but is now starting to make payments, and those go to the general fund.
Village officials will hold a public hearing earlier than one required by the state to receive public comment on the budget. It is set for Nov. 4 at 6 p.m., the board’s regular meeting time. A second public hearing, as required by the state, is set for Nov. 18, and the board is expected to approve the budget afterwards.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the board:
-approved a resolution supporting the use of F35A Fighter Airplanes at Truax Field Air National Guard Base in Madison.
-approved amending its ordinance relating to fire inspections. As requested by the department, inspections will be conducted once rather than twice a year.