In a span of about 20 minutes, the town of Bennett went from a projected budget shortfall to sufficient revenue to cover expenses in 2020.
Residents of the town who attended the special town meeting Monday, Nov. 18 — eight including five elected officials — voted unanimously to exceed the town’s levy limit so town can provide basic government services.
That means town residents will pay an additional 6% — $22.36 per $100,000 of property value — to cover expenses for law enforcement, fire protection, road maintenance, debt service and general government.
“It wasn’t a dream budget,” Bennett Supervisor Wes Koehler said.
Prior to Monday, Nov. 18, the Board had already cut $30,000 designated to upgrade the town hall elevator. Koehler said the town can borrow for the project a couple years down the road, once it retired some debt.
And to bolster revenue, the Board approved using most of $57,000 FEMA reimbursement next year, $50,000, to cover 2020 expenses.
The check arrived Monday, Bennett Town Clerk Tamara Johnson said.
That left the town needing to fill the gap or cut expenses by $14,974.
Residents questioned the school district levy, why some expenses, such as maintenance of town equipment, was projected to be significantly less in 2020, but in the end decided the town that had been conservative in past budgets needed the boost.
Growth in the town's levy since 2012 has been limited to growth in net new construction.
The town’s levy makes up one of the smallest shares of the annual property tax bill.
Johnson said the only smaller number on the tax bill, which includes Douglas County, the Solon Springs school district, the town of Bennett and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, is WITC.
Douglas County decreased its tax levy for 2020 while the Solon Springs school district levy rose by less than 1%.