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Thursday

April 2014

24

Sussex budget passes without opposition

Levy to increase 3 percent; tax rate up 23 cents

Village of Sussex - Although the 2013 village budget raises the real estate property tax levy by nearly 3 percent, and tax rates by 23 cents per $100,000 in assessed value, there has been no citizen opposition that has surfaced against the budget recently adopted by the Village Board.

The total budget for all funds is $15.7 million. Sewer and water utilities account for nearly $5 million of the budget with nearly all of utility costs covered by connection charges and service fees. General fund expenditures which cover all of the day to day activities and proposed capital expenses are budgeted at about $8.1 million including about $1.5 million for debt service.

Most of that $8.1 million is paid for by the 2013 real estate tax levy of about $5.4 million, a 2.87-increase above the 2012 levy. The levy when applied to the total assessed valuation in the village creates a tax rate of $4.96 per $1,000 assessed valuation, an increase of 23 cents compared to the $4.73 rate of 2012, according to budget documents.

The tax levy represents the total amount of tax dollars requested by the Village Board. The rate represents the amount an individual home owner will pay for that levy based on the value of the property.

The 2013 taxes on a home with an assessed valuation of $280,725 - about the average assessed value for a home in the village - would increase about $23.79 or 1.74 percent from 2012, according to Village Administrator Jeremy Smith.

The largest increase in general government expenses proposed for 2013 is 5.15 percent for the Pauline Haass Library which the village jointly supports with the Town of Lisbon.

Much of that increase is because the Village Board approved $15,000 to be set aside in an effort to begin increasing village funding for the library in the event the Town of Lisbon withdraws from the shared library funding agreement with the village. Village trustees have said they will continue to operate the library if Lisbon withdraws from the agreement.

Another additional $15,000 is being added to the public safety budget to help the fire department transition from a contractual to a full time, licensed paramedic service. The department has been providing paramedic level medical services to residents through a contract with Lake Country Fire and Rescue. In the future, the department will provide those services through a license granted by the State of Wisconsin.

The budget calls for $658,204 for general government services. Public safety costs, including a police services contract with the Waukesha County Sheriff's office as well as the capital and operating budget for the fire department is $2.8 million, an increase of about 1.7 percent over 2012.

Village health and sanitation services are budgeted for about $500,877, a 3.3-percent increase over 2012. Streets, parks and public building operations are budgeted at $1.1 million, a 1.25-percent increase from 2012.

Village cultural, recreational and education activity costs are pegged at $360,892, a nearly 7-percent increase. Proposed capital expenses in 2013 are nearly 12 percent lower than in 2012, $521, 072 compared to $591,914.

The village's outstanding general obligation debt as of Dec. 31, 2012, is projected to be about $24 million with about $1.5 million per year spent on servicing and retiring that debt, according to budget documents.

No one appeared in opposition to the budget during a Nov. 27 public hearing.

"In addition to one being at the public hearing, there also hasn't been anyone who has contacted me about the budget," said Trustee Pat Tetzlaff.

Tetzlaff said she believed the tax and levy increases were acceptable to most village residents because of the extra levels of service the village provides its residents.

In addition to basic police, fire and public works services, the village also offers library and park services as well as extensive recreational and human service programs, particularly for senior citizens, she said.

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