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Taxes going up after village approves budget PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVE BOEHLER   
Wednesday, 08 November 2017 15:56

Cost of fire department, sludge tanks fuels increase

    After years of relatively flat property taxes, Village of Fredonia residents can expect a hike to pay for a firehouse addition and improvements to the sewage treatment plant.
    “It’s probably fair to say that a small bump in the property tax was expected based on paying for the fire department and the sludge tanks,” village president Don Dohwardt said.
    “This seems to be reasonable based on the fact that the tax levy has been flat for the last number of years.”
    The tax rate is $5.18 per $1,000 of assessed property value, an increase of 7.53%.
    That means the owner of a home valued at $200,000 is estimated to pay $1,036 in village property taxes, an increase of $78.
    Dohrwardt says the trade-off is having a state-of-the-art fire department instead of having one that is out of code and too small.
    “It’s an upgrade,” he said. “There’s a number of things we should have had in the fire department to keep up to code that we just didn’t have room to put it in. So we just incorporated all of those things to bring everything up to standard and up to code for the health and safety of the fire department.”
    The 2018 budget requires a general tax fund levy of $506,315, an increase of 2.53% from last year. Capital projects remain the same at $141,042, but debt service is up 35.8% to $258,033.
    Combine a 3.74% increase in spending, and a tax levy of $905,390 – an increase of 9.8% - is required.
    Dohwardt noted the village is two large projects — the firehouse and sludge tank — are significantly more expensive than expected.
    “The original estimates on the sludge tank, which is the enterprise fund, that came in at about twice as much as the preliminary estimates were. So that was surprising,” Dohwardt said.
    “The firehouse came in substantially more than we thought, although not nearly double. I think that came in like about $500,000 or $600,000 more than what the original estimates were. But we piled a bunch of extra stuff on to it and added to the project along the way, too.”
    One example is the hot dog stand next to the firehouse that was donated by the Lions Club had to be removed. A replacement for the stand is now on to the west side of the new firehouse.
    “That became an integral part of the building,” Dohrwardt said. “We had to put in bathrooms and that, so that became an expensive addition that wasn’t considered in the original cost.”
    After years of flat taxes, Dohrwardt said, it was inevitable the village would have to increase the levy to pay for needed large-scale projects.
    The village president says he is looking forward to the return of a flat budget again for a while.
    “That’s what we’ve been concentrating on,” he said. “You do that long enough, you get to a point where, ‘OK, well we’re going to have to make a bit of a leap here.’ And then you make that leap and you’re steady there for a number of years, which is what I expect in future years’ budgets. We should be able to, at least for the next five, six years, maintain pretty much a steady tax bill at this level.”

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