When talk of municipal budgets begins each year in October, all those numbers can make your eyes glaze over.
But a good discussion of these budgets also contains details about new projects and programs planned for the year ahead that are paid for, at least in part, by your tax dollars.
The Village of Waunakee will give citizens a chance to weigh in on its budget Nov. 4 at an additional public hearing before the final on Nov. 18, when the board is expected to approve the budget.
Waunakee residents should keep in mind that the village’s levy makes up just 29 percent of their overall property tax bill. The Waunakee Community School district’s levy is 52 percent, Dane County’s is 15 percent, and the Technical College portion is 4 percent.
At last week’s village board meeting, each of the department heads gave a brief summary of new programs and projects that residents’ tax dollars will go toward.
The clerk’s office is looking to fund four elections in 2020.
While the community services department, which includes the Village Center, isn’t seeing any significant changes in its portion of the village budget, director Sue McDade noted some changes. They include expanding programming, particularly for adults, and facilitating the conversation about the potential for a community aquatics center.
The economic development department is looking to replace banners on the street light poles. It will also kick off the Create Waunakee branding, website and social media effort to further the creative economy initiative, said its director, Todd Schmidt. Also planned is a study on how to upgrade Reeve Park, where the Waunakee Depot is located, so that it can serve as more of a usable plaza.
The engineering department is looking to spend $1 million on resurfacing roadways. The annual sidewalk improvements and removing the “humps” along Woodland Drive near Mill Road are planned, as well.
The library department will add programs for all ages, and some interest in Sunday hours has been expressed, but director Erick Plumb said the discussion on adding hours will wait until the 2021 budget.
The police department anticipates three officers retiring, and hiring new officers comes with equipment costs. In addition, the department is planning a capital purchase of a bi-directional amplifier to allow the radios to operate within the police station. Currently, the officers’ radios do not work within the station.
“It’s pretty critical that we are able to communicate within our own building,” Chief Kevin Plendl told the board last week.
These are just some of the details in Waunakee’s 2020 draft budget. The document can also be found on the village’s website, Waunakee.com. If you care about how your tax dollars will be spent next year, it’s worth a look. And if you have a strong opinion about it, plan on expressing it at the Nov. 4 Waunakee Village Board meeting.