EL budget approved with tax cut

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – After a one-year uptick, the village property tax levy and tax rate will be lower for 2017.

The Village Board Monday approved the 2017 village budget following a public hearing where there were no comments.

The new budget calls for a property tax levy of $1,239,984, a drop of just under 1 percent.

That translates to a village property tax rate of $4.42 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, a four-cent decrease.

Village Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer Jessica Reilly presented the final tax rate sheet showing that the overall tax rate will drop to $17.68 per thousand from $18.02, a decrease of 1.9 percent. The total tax rate includes the school district, state, county and LTC property taxes minus the school credit.

The board authorized Reilly to sell some of the village’s street banners, many of which were replaced this year.

Reilly said most of the excess banners would be sold on the state’s surplus items website, where the village often sells used and unwanted equipment.

Among the banners to be sold are winter snowflake designs, red welcome banners (which Reilly noted cannot be used on state highways like Lincoln Avenue/State 67 because of the color) and some flags.

The village also will be selling some race-themed banners that read “Welcome to Elkhart Lake” on a checkered-flag background.

Those, Reilly said, would likely be sold on the village’s website as they might not draw as much interest on the state website.

She speculated that many village residents and visitors might be interested in those signs as souvenirs of the village and the trustees agreed.

“Anything you get for them will be worthwhile,” Trustee John Schott told Reilly.

In light of the unusually warm weather so far this month, the board agreed to push the date for beginning enforcement of winter parking rules to Dec. 1.

“The police will probably issue warnings for two weeks or until the first snow shows up,” Reilly related.

Trustee Richard Baumann reported from the Tourism Commission that the tourism growth goal set five years ago was far exceeded.

The commission has set a goal to increase tourism revenue by 10 percent in five years, but that revenue has actually increased 37.5 percent over that period. “That represents almost $10 million in sales,” Baumann stated.

An ordinance increasing the room tax to 7 percent to take advantage of that increase had its second reading. Final board action is expected at the Dec. 5 board meeting.

Reilly told the board the Planning Commission approved expansion plans for Community United Church of Christ that include another driveway onto North East Street. The church is adding an elevator for increased access.

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