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Abby adopts 2020 budget with 1.5% tax increase

Abbotsford’s city council adopted a 2020 budget last week Wednesday with a 1.5 percent increase in the local property tax levy.

The total amount of general fund taxes collected by the city next year will be $905,285, an increase of $13,379 over 2019. The city will also collect over a half-million dollars ($506,535) from developments within its TIF districts, money which can only be used for projects and incentives in those areas.

City administrator Dan Grady pointed out that a projected surplus in water utility revenue will be set aside for finding more groundwater in 2020, something recommended by the Wisconsin DNR.

“We are planning on drilling a new well — at least one — next year,” he said.

The sewer utility, on the other hand, has a projected $75,000 deficit next year, so the city will be looking at ways of increasing revenue for that account.

Grady said he was able to lower the sewer deficit a little already by allocating more of utility operator Josh Soyk’s wages to the water utility based on how he splits his time. It went from 50/50 in water and sewer to 75 percent being paid by the water utility.

Elsewhere in the budget, Grady noted that the line item for the mayor’s wages was increased by $500 for next year, but only to account for all of the extra meetings the mayor attends every year. Increasing the mayor’s actual pay rate would have to be done by a vote of the council and would not take effect until the mayor’s next term.

“It’s just making the number more realistic,” Grady said, referring to the amount of money in the line item.

When Soyk and DPW Craig Stuttgen were asked if they were happy with their budgets, they both said yes.

_ The council approved a $39,108 pay request from Haas Sons for work done on the Schilling Farms subdivision.

_ The council met in closed session to discuss negotiation strategies for purchasing easements from landowners along the Safe Routes to School route.

_ Grady told the council that the city has been awarded $22,581 grant from Clark County for next year’s Spruce Street project. If the city were to also get money from the state, he said the county’s grant would instead go to Loyal.

_ In preparation for renewing the city’s insurance policies, Grady said he had the department heads review the city’s list of buildings. Utility supervisor Josh Soyk found several assets not listed on the policy, including a lift station and several wells that were drilled in 2011.

Grady said he will make sure all of that property is included on the city’s policy going forward.