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Port will present budget with levy hike, rate decrease PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 19:32

    The City of Port Washington’s proposed 2018 budget is slated to increase 2.5%, with the corresponding tax levy increasing 2.2%.
    The $9.5 million expenditure budget and $5.4 million levy — which comes in just $353 under the state levy limit — were recommended recently by the Finance and License Committee.
    But even though the levy and budget are increasing, the tax rate will decrease because of the amount of growth in the city, City Administrator Mark Grams said, He estimated the tax rate, excluding the tax incremental financing district, will be $5.98 per $1,000 assessed valuation, a decrease of about eight cents.
    For the owner of a house assessed at $225,000, he said, their city taxes will decrease about $19.
    But, he emphasized, that’s not a final number because the TIF calculation hasn’t been computed yet.
    A public hearing on the budget will be held during the council’s 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, meeting. Aldermen are expected to approve the budget that night.
    The committee met all day on Oct. 26 to work on the budget and tweaked the final document Oct. 30 before recommending the spending plan, which largely maintains the status quo, Grams said.
    “As far as services go, it’s about the same,” he said.
    No new initiatives are included in the budget, which does include increased funding for elections — there will be four next year compared to two this year, Grams said.
    The biggest change may be a recommendation to eliminate the parks and recreation director’s position, he said.
    Director Charlie Imig has resigned effective Nov. 8, and instead of replacing him, the Personnel Committee has recommended splitting his duties between Kiley Schulte, the recreation supervisor, and Jon Crain, the city forester.
    That change will save the city between $40,000 and $50,000 next year, Grams said.
    The city expects to borrow about $2 million for capital projects next year, Grams said, primarily for road projects in 2018 and 2029.
    About $80,000 will be earmarked for a new computer system at City Hall, he said. The city is tied into the county’s computer system but there have been a number of issues with that lately, Grams said.
    The city plans to use the proceeds from the sale of 35.19 acres of bluff land for the Prairie’s Edge subdivision to finance several other capital items, Grams said.
    Black Cap Halcyon is expected to pay $2,257,086 for the land. Those funds will be used, in part, to pay for a new tanker truck to replace the current, 32-year-old truck at an estimated cost of $400,000, and a new ambulance for $225,000, as well as some street department equipment, and improvements to the heating system at the Niederkorn Library, Grams said.
    Grams also told the Finance and License Committee that the city will likely end 2017 $80,000 to $90,000 over budget, the result of a computer glitch that overstated the number of building permits being issued and a miscalculation in the payment in lieu of taxes the water utility will pay this year.
    He is meeting with department heads to see where savings might be realized to offset some of these shortfalls, Grams said, adding the city’s reserve fund has enough to cover the gap if needed.Daily Press

Board to weigh in on mayor’s wheel tax plan PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 19:30

Levy of $20 would fund Port Washington roadwork

    Port Washington’s Board of Public Works will weigh in on a proposed wheel tax in the city when it meets at 5:30 p.m. Tueday, Nov. 21.
    The board is expected to make a recommendation on the wheel tax to the Finance and License Committee and the Common Council.
    Mayor Tom Mlada proposed the $20 wheel tax on Nov. 7, saying it would provide the city with a way to fund improvements to its streets.
    The fee, collected by the State Department of Transportation when drivers renew their license plates annually, would not supplant the funds currently budgeted and borrowed by the city for road projects, Mlada said, but instead supplement them.
    Everyone acknowledges that street repairs are a priority, Mlada said, but costs continue to increase while the city’s budget is lean, state aids are declining and levy limits mean the city can’t tax more for roadwork.
    He projected the city could collect $200,000 annually from the fee, noting it would pay for resurfacing two-thirds of a mile of street, resurfacing and replacing the curb along one-third mile or completely reconstructing almost two city blocks.
    “We could make a difference,” Mlada said. “This is not chump change.”
    Mlada urged the council to quickly adopt the plan, noting the earliest the fee could be collected is April.
    The idea met with mixed reaction from aldermen.
    “I am really torn on this,” Ald. Dave Larson said. “I do not like taxes and fees.” Daily Press

Roads, land purchase drive proposed tax hike in town PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 08 November 2017 20:21

Budget, 8.5% levy increase to be presented during Nov. 13 hearing

    Town of Port Washington voters will have their say on a proposed 2018 budget during a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13.
    The proposed budget reflects an increase of 8.5%, from $567,564 this year to $572,415 next year.
    The proposed levy would increase from $457,517 this year to $462,233 next year. To raise that amount, the tax rate would increase from $2.18 this year to $2.28 next year.
    Town Chairman Jim Melichar said two major items are spurring the increase — a $50,000 allocation for purchase of property and an increase in the town roads budget of $80,000.
    The town is considering buying two properties just west of the Town Hall on Highland Drive to expand its recycling operations, and Melichar said the $50,000 would reflect an initial payment if a purchase agreement can be reached.
    “They (the property owners) gave Mike the idea they would like payments over time,” Melichar said, referring to Supr. Mike Didier, a real estate agent.
    The town is currently waiting to receive an appraisal of the properties as it proceeds with negotiations, he said.
    The idea of purchasing the properties came because a number of residents have asked the town to put a roof over its recycling operation, which is housed next to the Town Hall, officials have said, adding there isn’t enough room on the Town Hall property to erect a building.
    The family that owns the adjoining lots has approached the town to see if it might be interested in buying the parcels, prompting the town’s actions.
    The parcel closest to the hall has a dilapidated house on it, while the other has a rental property. The town could potentially use the lot closest to it for its recycling operation and either continue to rent out the other property or tear it down for future development, officials have said.
    The road funds are slated for two projects — reconstruction of Northwoods Road, which is considered the worst road in the town, and seal coating Mink Ranch Road — Melichar said.
    This would complete the Mink Ranch Road project, he said.
    The Northwoods Road project is expected to be done in conjunction with the Village of Saukville, which has jurisdiction over the west side of the roadway.   Daily Press

Program at Port High to mark Veterans Day PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 08 November 2017 20:20

Four area veterans will be inducted into Port Washington High School’s Wall of Honor Friday as the students, faculty and area residents prepare to celebrate Veterans Day.
     The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. in the school auditorium.
    The veterans to be honored include:
    n Gary Schlenvogt, who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War era. He was nominated by the Ozaukee County Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5373.
    n Lloyd G. Johnson Jr., who served in the Army during World War II and was nominated by the Van Ells-Schanen American Legion Post 82 in Port Washington.
    n John Staton, who served in the Army from 1977 to 1983 during the conflicts in Grenada and Lebanon. He was nominated by the Landt-Thiel American Legion Post 470 in Saukville.
    n William Ubbink, a Marine who served during the Vietnam era. He was also nominated by the Landt-Thiel American Legion Post 470.
    The ceremony will include musical presentations, as well as the playing of taps, and the presentation of colors.
    In addition to a welcome by Principal Eric Burke, there will be a student address by Jordan Hurley. Nick Blank will indroduce the honorees.
    There will be a rifle salute and reflections following remarks by the honorees or their representatives.
    Following the event, people are invited to the Port Washington Legion Hall on Lake Street for a light lunch.
    This year’s ceremony is being held on Friday, Nov. 10, because Veterans Day is on Saturday, when school is not in session.Daily Press

Aldermen pick lone applicant to fill vacancy on Port council PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 08 November 2017 20:17

    The Port Washington Common Council is at full speed again with the appointment Tuesday of Dan Benning as the new 4th District alderman.
    Benning, the lone candidate for the position, replaces former Ald. Doug Biggs, who resigned in September.
    Benning, of 1012 Jade St., told aldermen during an interview that he believes the city’s biggest challenge is communicating with its residents.
    “The message is not getting out there,” he said, adding he would like to see the city engage in more listening sessions. “I’d like to see us get what’s happening out there in the community in layman’s terms.”
     Benning said he believes the Common Council has done a good job revitalizing downtown and bringing in residential development.
    “This body has laid a foundation for growth in the community for the coming years,” he said, but he noted that the city needs to find the right balance in managing growth and the need for city services.
    When looking at potential growth, he added, the city needs to consider what type of community it wants to become.
    “We need to have a vision of who we want to be and what we want to be,” he said.
    When making decisions, he added, his philosophy is to “look and see what the need is and make decisions based on that.”
    Biggs’ seat is up for election in spring, and Benning said he intends to seek election to the position.    
    Benning has been employed by Johnson Controls for the past 28 years, most recently as an information technology director, and is involved in a variety of community activities.
    He has worked with teams staging the annual Port Christmas parade through Port Main Street Inc., Benning said, and served in various roles with Grand Avenue United Methodist Church. Daily Press

Firefighters rescue elderly woman after fall on breakwater PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 01 November 2017 18:22

An elderly woman fell off the Port Washington breakwater onto the armor stone below on Oct. 20 and had to be rescued by the fire department.
    Fire Chief Mark Mitchell said the 80-year-old woman, who is from Rochester, N.Y., was on the breakwater with her family about 3 p.m. when she apparently stepped backward and fell about four feet to the armor stone below.
    She fell on the harbor side of the breakwater, Mitchell said.
    Emergency crews immobilized the woman, who was transferred in a Stokes basket to shore and treated by medics there, he said.
    She was then transferred by ambulance to Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, he said.
    “It’s unfortunate she fell,” Mitchell said. But it’s lucky she fell on the harbor side of the breakwater rather than the lake side, he said, and that it was a nice day.
    “It would have been a lot different if she had fallen into the water,” he said. Daily Press

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