(Town of Beaver Dam) A public forum was held Tuesday night on a referendum that Town of Beaver Dam voters will see on the August ballot. The town board is seeking to exceed revenue limits in perpetuity to fund increased fire and EMS costs and road maintenance. For the 2023 budget, the township is limited by state statute to a levy increase of point-seven-five-percent (0.75%) which results in a total levy of $520,870. If approved, the referendum would increase 76.7-percent, adding $400-thousand dollars next year and each year thereafter. If approved, the owner of a $100-thousand dollar home would see the township portion of their tax bill increase from $188 to $294, based on the current years data.
The town and the Beaver Dam Rural Association have come to a verbal agreement on the terms of a new five-year contract for fire and EMS services, due to start in 2023. The contract is contingent on the results of the referendum. The hope is that the referendum is settled in time for budget adoption. Given the shortened timeframe, the board put it on the August ballot and, in the event that it fails, they would try again in November.
Board Chairman Joseph Kern says there are not a lot of options. The board explored contracting out with other services, starting their own EMS, and borrowing, none of which he says are ideal.
Last night’s meeting was sparsely attended and, in addition to questions, most of the comments from those in attendance encouraged the board to reach out more aggressively to the community. There are currently no additional forums on the calendar, but at least two more are planned; a Community Comment appearance is also in the works. The next meeting of the town board is July 12 at Town Hall.