EL village tax levy, rate up 3 percent

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – Three is the magic number for the 2014 village budget.

The Village Board Monday approved a $5,129,876 budget that calls for a property tax levy of $1,171,725 and a property tax rate of $4.16 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Both the levy and the rate represent a 3 percent increase over the 2013 village budget.

No one appeared at the public hearing on the budget prior to the regular board meeting.

“The big difference in the bottom line is the TIF districts,” Trustee Pam Garton noted.

The village created two new tax incremental finance districts this year and that added more than $2 million to the total spending in the budget, which was up from $2,556,551 in 2013.

The board approved an increase in the tavern operator license fee from $15 to $20 and introduced an ordinance to increase the municipal court costs fee from $28 to $38.

Trustee Richard Sadiq, chair of the Administration and Finance Committee, explained that the increase in the court costs fee was recently authorized under a new state law. “It will enable us to not lose money and maybe even make a little money,” on the municipal court, he added.

At the direction of the state Department of Transportation, the village will be making some changes in signs and banners along State 67 (Lincoln Street) in the village.

Trustee Steve Kapellen, chair of the Protection of Person and Property Committee, said the DOT recommended upgrading the stop signs at the intersection of Lincoln Street and Rhine Street in the heart of the village by adding flashing lights to increase safety at the intersection.

The village was informed by the DOT that informational signs directing drivers to businesses and services in the village that are on a state highway can only be blue or green.

Currently, the village’s way-find signs (as the DOT calls them) are neither color.

Trustee Richard Baumann said the signs will be removed from Lincoln Street, but can remain on Rhine Street and other village streets.

Baumann also reported that the DOT does not allow red banners along state highways as well, which impacts a number of different banners the village places on light poles along Lincoln Street during the year.

Assistant Administrator/Clerk-Treasurer Jessica Reilly said the village is looking into getting bids on green welcome banners for Lincoln Street, a color that is acceptable to the DOT.

Baumann, the board’s representative on the Tourism Commission, reported that the commission had set a goal of 20 percent growth in tourism over five years and has already reached 60 percent of that goal in just one year.

The board approved the purchase of a new dump/plow truck at a cost of $130,620, which Reilly noted is about $20,000 less than the village had budgeted for the new truck.

Village President Alan Rudnick announced an open house for retiring Administrator/ Clerk-Treasurer Jeanette Moioffer to be held Friday, Dec. 20, from 2-5 p.m. at the Grashorn Municipal Building.

“That’s where residents of the village can come in and say goodbye to Jeanette,” who is retiring after three decades of service to the village.

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