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Gays Mills Village Board approves 2018 budget
GM Village Hall

GAYS MILLS - The Gays Mills Village Board discussed and reviewed the 2018 Budget and Tax Levy at a very sparsely attended public hearing held before their regular board meeting on Monday night.

Later during the regular meeting, the board moved to adopt a balanced budget that included $699,575 for the general budget with $55,425 in the Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) District Budget. The village’s tax levy for 2018 is $149,838. That’s up from the 2017 tax levy of $139,277 and the 2016 tax levy of $138,454.

The water utility budget was $114,510 and the sewer utility budget was $157,567. Because of the increased cost of sewer volume rate, the borrowing from the general fund to balance the sewer utility budget was significantly reduced.

Passing through funds from the recently completed trail project skewed some of the budget accounts that needed to take in the $31,000 in funds raised by the trail committee or $44,500 received from the DNR Grant, while other accounts, like General and Office Expenses, were also affected as that money was spent through those accounts.

Ultimately, as the money for building the trail passed through both as revenue and then expenses, it did not basically affect the village finances other than by its appearance in different accounts.

For village property taxpayers, the bottom line is that the tax levy and mil rate for their overall taxes and for the village portion of those taxes are both up slightly for 2018. The mil rate is the amount of taxes a property owner will pay for every $1,000 of equalized value of their property. 

The mil rate for the Village of Gays Mills was 6.14 in 2016, 6.20 in 2017 and will be 6.41 in 2018. This means the village’s 2018 mil rate is up about 3.28 percent from 2017 and up about 4.06 percent over the 2016 mil rate.

A Gays Mills resident’s overall mil rate (including North Crawford Schools, SWTC, Crawford County and the Village of Gays Mills) will be 25.54 for 2018. That means an owner of property in the village with an equalized value of $50,000 would pay $1,277.07 in total 2018 property taxes.

By comparison, the overall mil rate for a Gays Mills resident in 2017 was 24.75 and that overall mil rate in 2016 was 24.21. So, the owner of a property with an equalized value of $50,000 would’ve paid $1,237.62 in property taxes in 2017 and $1,210.90 in 2016.

However, it wasn’t just the 2018 budget and tax levy that was discussed at the board meeting Monday night. Kickapoo Culinary Center Director Brad Niemcek told the board that the local shared-use kitchen was just getting by these days with limited clients. In November, the kitchen, located in the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center, had two clients that paid a total of about $650 in rent. Niemcek said the average monthly expenses for the kitchen are about $800.

Right now, the American Hazelnut Company is carrying the kitchen with hazelnut processing in full swing. This year the group expects to process 6,000 pounds of hazelnuts-that’s twice the amount processed last year.

Under old business, the board discussed pursuing or not pursuing a FEMA grant to remove the remaining orange-brick mill buildings on the Kickapoo River below the dam.

When village trustees weighed the cost of removing the old buildings without the deed restriction on future use, against the FEMA funding to remove the buildings and impose severe deed restrictions on future use, they opted to drop pursuing a FEMA grant to remove the buildings. The village will probably look to remove them at their own low cost with some volunteer local help.

The board also briefly discussed what to do with increased revenue in the TIF District resulting from the BAPI factory’s higher assessment following their building addition.

Gays Mills Village Clerk Dawn McCann told the board that the village could apply the money toward paying off the loan taken for infrastructure improvements years ago or could invest the money in making more infrastructure improvements in the business park.

One of those improvements might be increasing the availability of three-phase wiring to the undeveloped lots that remain in the business park, according to Gays Mills Village President Harry Heisz.

The village has until September 2018 to reach a decision on what to do with the increased revenue in the TIF District.

In other business, the Gays Mills Village Board:

• appointed election inspectors for January 1, 2018 through December 31,2019

• learned there was no one yet signed up to become the 2018 swimming pool manager and decided to advertise the position

• approved a temporary Class B Liquor license for Ocooch Mountain Rescue for February 17 and 18

• approved operator’s licenses for Shawna Sprosty, Hannah Robertson, Emily Roth, Kevin Burke, Marsha Smith and Tracy Johnsrude

• viewed and briefly discussed employee review forms brought to the meeting by village trustee Erin Martin