Beaver Dam Adopts 2020 City Budget

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Common Council adopted the 2020 budget Thursday night, with two dissenting votes. The $16.9-million-dollar document includes a tax levy of $10.87-million, an increase of $371-thousand dollars, or 3.5-percent, over the previous budget. The mill rate of $9.83 per thousand is down by 19-cents from last year. Equalized property values are up by 6.5-percent.

Because of an administrative error, the city will not be getting $330-thousand dollars from the state’s Expenditure Restraint Program, which rewards municipalities that keep spending in check. That lost was money was among the numbers longtime Alderman Mick Fischer referenced in voting against the budget.

“The shared revenue is down $368-thousand dollars,” Fischer says, “our general government expenses are up $281-thousand dollars. Annual debt services, principal and interest, are up $800-thousand dollars. That totals $1.4-million in lost income and increased cost since this administration took office.”

Council President Chris Olson defended the spending, saying that previous council’s were so conservative that city streets were left to crumble, noting this plan addresses years of neglect.

“With all of the costs that we have incurred over the last couple years we have also seen a lot of growth,” Olson says, “with all the money we have going toward streets there is a lot that the city has been doing and needs to do just making up for the bad decisions of people from years before us. They weren’t keeping up with the streets, they weren’t doing what the city needed so now, we are.”

Borrowing for next year totals $3.78-million dollars for streets, infrastructure and major equipment purchases. The big-ticket item is the reconstruction of most of South Spring Street. Other projects approved as part of the capital budget include a new phone system at city hall, breathing apparatus for the fire department and a new roof for the Dodge County Historical Society Museum. Around $290-thousand dollars is being directed to improvements to four of the city’s two dozen parks, including an expansion of the new dog park.

The budget includes a two-percent increase for city employees. Health insurance costs increased by 7.5-percent.