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Bayfield approves budget heavy on capital spending
12/7/2007 By: Carole McWilliams
Bayfield town trustees have approved a 2008 budget with historic operating and capital spending swollen with large projects like the new town hall, and by the takeover of Bayfield Sanitation District.
Trustees approved the budget on Nov. 20. They set the property tax rate at 5.950 mills, the same as it’s been for several years.
Primary spending categories approved by the board are: general fund, $2.18 million; conservation trust (parks and rec), $474,601; capital improvements $2.39 million; water fund operations, $756,573; water fund capital projects, $929,688; debt service $215,486 (pass-through money for the Bayfield Center Business Park special improvement district).
However, these totals include unspent fund reserves and transfers between funds that are in effect counted twice. So actual spending can be substantially less.
In addition, the budget includes $3.56 million in a separate fund for the new town hall; $492,689 for sewer system operations and administration; $51,400 for operating the Gem Village system; and $6.2 million for sewer system capital costs, mostly for a new Bayfield sewage treatment plant. See separate story.
The budget anticipates $245,822 in property tax revenue; $230,000 of town sales tax revenue to the general fund plus $230,000 to capital improvements; $455,000 as a share of countywide sales tax to the general fund plus $246,615 to capital improvements.
Both the town and county sales tax revenues are figured with no increase from this year.
The budget anticipates $50,000 from building permit fees, down from an estimated $63,000 this year and $132,916 in 2006. Similarly, money paid to the town’s contract building inspector is budgeted at $33,750, down from $68,000 estimated this year and $90,964 in 2006.
The budget projects $50,000 from Highway Users Tax, the same as this year; and $30,000 from severance tax, down from $35,000 this year and $55,581 in 2006. That reflects a change in severance distributions based only on gas industry employees who live in or have PO boxes in town, not workers in the whole 81122 zip code.
Operating expenses include: town manager’s salary $69,000; town clerk’s salary $52,471; deputy clerk $36,000; administrative assistant $26,208; town attorney $70,000; part-time planner $46,000; student administrative intern $30,000 (half paid by grant).
The town marshal salary is $66,174. Salaries for four deputies range from $36,030 to $44,336. Town trustees expressed concern about competitive deputy salaries during budget discussions in October. The starting salary this year is $32,600.
The public works director salary is budgeted at $66,021. Public works assistants range from $28,392 to $38,503. That includes sewer system duties; $164,700 will be transferred from the sewer budget for that.
The recreation director is budgeted at $42,000, with $26,832 for the director’s assistant. One park worker is budgeted at $28,000.
Capital improvement spending totals just over $2 million.
That includes $125,000 for ball field lights, $1.5 million for a new senior center (projects $950,000 grant funding with $570,000 of that confirmed and the rest pending), $279,000 debt payment on the new town hall, and a $50,000 transfer to the town hall building fund.
It also includes $45,000 for a recycling center, $35,000 for the town share of a trail along County Road 501, and $24,000 for a new patrol car.
Money in the separate town hall building fund includes $1.5 million the town has accumulated over several years, plus a confirmed $500,000 Energy Impact Grant and $1.45 million lease purchase.
The construction cost is budgeted at $3 million for construction, plus $185,000 for contingencies and $382,792 fund balance.
The water system capital budget projects $145,000 in tap fee revenue, up from $110,000 projected this year, but down from $290,421 in 2006. Revenue also includes a $126,000 grant for a water plant automated control system, and a $327,056 Energy Impact Grant that will help pay for a second new water storage tank and connecting lines.
The biggest water system spending will be the new tank, budgeted at $644,000.
During the Nov. 20 public hearing on the budget, David Black criticized the $279,000 per year commitment to repay the lease purchase deal for the new town hall, and lack of money budgeted for street repairs.
Trustee Carol Blatnick responded that a main goal with this budget is to finish projects that are already started.