(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Common Council Monday will vote on the 2019 budget and their borrowing plan for next year. The budget totals $16.5-million-dollars and includes a tax levy of $10.56-million dollars, an increase of $231-thousand dollars from the current budget. The mill rate as proposed would be $9.95-per one-thousand dollars of assessed value, a decrease of 14-cents. Equalized values are up in Beaver Dam by over three-percent.
The budget is being bolstered by an almost unheard of 24-percent decrease in health insurance costs for city employees next year. The sharp decline comes after the city entered into a consortium with other municipalities in the region.
The budget includes a proposed two-percent salary increase for city employees. The fire department is requesting an additional firefighter/paramedic position. The Parks, Forestry and Facilities Department is seeking a full-time custodial position. The Community Activities and Services Department is asking to convert a part-time Activities Specialist position to a full-time Recreation Supervisor.
Capital outlay requests total $506-thousand dollars, up from the $421-thousand approved last year. That includes funding in the police department for a new K-9 vehicle and solar powered speed signs. The fire department wants turnout gear replacements and thermal imaging cameras. There are also requests for a replacement aeration fountain and new sand at Crystal Lake Park, upgrades to the Tower Parking Lot restroom, upgrades to the Swan Park bandshell and wayfinding signs throughout the city to direct people to various community landmarks.
City officials in Beaver Dam trimmed around $1.2-million dollars from next year’s borrowing plan in committee last month. The proposed 2019 Capital Improvements Plan initially totaled just shy of $4-million dollars with the bulk of the proposed borrowing for road maintenance, around $3-million dollars. The borrowing plan approved in committee with three dissenting votes totals $2.71-million dollars, which is lower than the $2.78-million dollars approved last year.
The biggest change was the removal of $1-million-dollars for the reconstruction of a stretch of South Spring Street, which would be delayed for at least two years. The request for Phase Two Downtown Revitalization initially totaled $250-thousand dollars. After multiple motions to reduce or eliminate the borrowing failed in committee, officials ultimately settled on trimming proposed downtown funding to $181-thousand dollars.
Mayor Becky Glewen discussed this year’s downtown revitalization proposal during her most recent appearance on WBEV’s Community Comment. Glewen says a primary focus next year downtown would be the development of a riverwalk, behind the Watermark. That includes green space on the west side of the river similar to the green space on the east side. A bridge would also be added further south of the current Tower Parking Lot bridge toward Mill Street that would allow walkers to do a “loop” around the downtown river area.
Both the 2019 budget and borrowing plan could still be amended when they come before the council for a vote tonight. In order the approve a borrowing plan that exceeds $1.65-million dollars, it would need the support of eleven of the city’s 14 alderpersons. The budget needs a simple majority.
Listen to our most recent conversation with Mayor Glewen here: