Costly park projects on tentative village schedule, but trustees use ‘what if’ scenarios to weigh tax impact
Village of Saukville trustees have been meeting regularly with representatives from Ehlers, the village’s financial consultants, to adopt a long-range vision on budgeting and capital borrowing.
The forward-thinking process, advocated by Village President Barb Dickmann and Village Administrator Dawn Wagner, has been characterized as a “Five-year Community Investment Plan.”
During several of the planning sessions, Michael Harrigan of Ehlers discussed projected capital purchases and projects, and how borrowing for them could impact the village tax rate.
That “every action has a corresponding affect” philosophy came into play last week, when trustees looked at potential village expenses over the next five years during a Finance Committee meeting.
The planning process allows officials to determine priorities as well as the timing of those purchases.
The latest spreadsheet prepared by Ehlers at the direction of village officials included several park projects.
The scenario for 2017 shows the construction of a new pavilion at Grady Park for $175,000 and the reconstruction of the park’s tennis courts for another $100,000.
The following year, a new concession/bathroom building is envisioned in Quade Park, as is a splash pad. Combined, those projects would cost an estimated $455,000.
Those park enhancements, as well as the pending purchase of a new ambulance and fire truck, resulted in some creative “what-if” thinking by trustees.
“I would be interested in looking at things without the park projects and the fire equipment extended out,” Trustee Dan Sauer said.
“None of this is set in stone.”
Trustee Joe Caban said he would like a revised scenario in which the ambulance is eliminated, but not the fire truck.
Trustee Scott Fischer suggested a different approach, seeing what the project schedule would look like if the board adopted a no-tax-increase budget for the next two years.
“That would mean rescheduling the projects we’ve talked about for 2017, which you can do,” Wagner said.
“You are the people who can decide ‘I don’t want to add something,’ even if it is a great thing for the community.”
Dickmann underlined the fact that the trustees, not the staff, set the village’s spending plans.
“I never look at budgets as what the staff wants. I look at it as our job to determine how it benefits our residents. You should look at whatever numbers you want,” she said.
“The more you look at the options, the better you will feel about your decisions.”
Trustees were expected to look at updated financing scenarios when they meet again on June 28.