Town adds money to 2023 roads budget

Paving Silver Beach deemed a higher priority than saving for fire department vehicle

By MITCH MAERSCH

Ozaukee Press staff

The Town of Belgium’s 2023 roads budget got a little extra at Monday night’s elector meeting.

Chairman Tom Winker asked that $20,000 earmarked for the eventual replacement of a Belgium Fire Department vehicle be moved into the roads budget.

Winker said he wants to put money toward next year’s Silver Beach Road project for which the town is receiving a nearly $700,0000 Town Road Improvement grant.

The project is slated to cost about $1 million, meaning the town has to kick in $300,000.

Winker also said he wants to wait until a merger of three area fire departments’ emergency medical services programs — and eventually the firefighting portions — is complete. Belgium, Fredonia and Waubeka are in the process of combining EMS services using American Rescue Plan Act money from Ozaukee County to help ease a critical staffing shortage.

The $20,000 was to be put into a fund to save money to replace a 2004 multipurpose vehicle for an estimated $80,000 in 2024.

“I would just assume wait until we get that consolidation merger done,” Winker said.

“I think it’s more important we get that road done out there.”

The project includes paving one mile of Silver Beach Road from Highway LL west to the railroad tracks. The road leads into the Village of Belgium’s industrial park, but the project only calls for paving the town’s portion of the road. The village has no immediate plan to pave its portion of the road since it didn’t receive any grant money.

Paving the road has been on the radar for decades as the village strives to keep trucks off Main Street and to encourage business expansion and attraction, but various obstacles have prevented the work from getting done.

If the fire department still needs the new vehicle in 2024, Winker said, “$20,000 either way ain’t gonna break the bank.”

The several electors in the audience agreed and approved moving the money, 11-0.

That increased the roads budget from 4318,892 to $338,892.

Electors approved a budget of $659,605 for 2023 with a local levy of $469,991, which is up from this year’s $67,996. The vote was 12-0.

“We’re limited by state statute how much we can go up, and it’s less than 2%,” Winker said. “Inflation is running rampant at 9%, so I think we’re going to have to find some magical ways to survive, but be assured we will.”

The Town Board approved the budget, 3-0, at its meeting following the budget hearing and elector meeting.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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