Blasczyk fails in push to eliminate 3.8% levy hike on town tax bill
First-term Supr. John Blasczyk was going through his first budget-setting cycle with the Town of Fredonia, and he didnâ€™t like what he saw.
At last weekâ€™s public hearing on the 2011 town budget, Blasczyk was the only person raising objections to the spending plan.
The town tax levy will be $393,572 â€” an increase of $14,397 from last year.
Although the levy increase came to 3.8%, Blasczyk said any tax hike in the current economy was unacceptable.
He said the results of the November elections underlined the feeling of discontent among voters.
â€śAfter (the Nov. 2) elections, it is clear the people donâ€™t want to pay any more taxes,â€ť Blasczyk said.
He said that trimming the budget by $15,000 would allow the town to keep the same tax rate as last year.
â€śIt looks like we could probably get by with keeping the tax rate the same as last year, even if it means driving on bumpy roads for another year,â€ť he said.
Blasczyk also suggested dipping into the townâ€™s reserves and taking a closer look at the townâ€™s contract with the Waubeka Fire Department.
Town Chairman Richard Mueller said drawing on the reserve fund would set a dangerous precedent.
Mueller said the town doesnâ€™t receive some its revenue until the end of the year and needs to keep a healthy reserve fund to cover operating expenses.
â€śIf we use up our reserves, we just need to borrow money to cover expenses,â€ť he said.
Supr. Jim Stemper said Blasczyk needs to realize the townâ€™s portion of the tax bill is tiny.
â€śThe reality is our budget is miniscule compared to the school district. Cutting $1,000 from the fire department is not going to make any difference on the tax bill,â€ť Stemper
Supr. Lance Leider also warned against targeting the road budget for cuts.
â€śIf you cut back on your road budget, youâ€™ll never catch up. As it is, we donâ€™t have enough to pave one mile of road a year,â€ť Leider said.
Town officials were relieved to learn the Ozaukee County Board narrowly defeated a measure that would have eliminated $131,000 in matching county road aids from the countyâ€™s 2011 budget. The townâ€™s portion of that money is $26,868, second only to the Town of Belgium.
The County Board voted 16-14 to restore the road aids to towns. The program matches town money for road work, provided crews from the Ozaukee County Highway Department are used.
â€śThe Town of Fredonia asks the County Board to look at the complete picture of how roads can be most cost-effectively maintained throughout the county, and the most effective use of county workers and equipment before removing budget money for the isolated item of town road maintenance,â€ť Mueller said in a letter to the County Board.
County Supr. Rose Hass Leider said the county fight over road aids is certain to return during the next budget cycle.
â€śWe won this year, but I can only presume it will be an issue again next year and weâ€™ll have to fight tooth and nail again,â€ť Hass Leider said.
The town electorate endorsed the proposed town levy, with only Blasczyk voting against the plan. The Town Board then adopted the budget.