The Village of Osceola had a year unlike any other in 2020.
“With this health pandemic,” explained Administrator Ben Krumenauer. “Staff has had the opportunity to take a close look and dive deep, so we can still get the biggest bang for our buck.
“It’s been a challenging year.”
That work has been in preparation for the 2021 budget, which will get a public hearing 6 p.m., Nov. 30 at the Village Hall. The board will meet afterwards to approve it.
“Last year was a difficult year because we had to raise revenues to meet demand,” Krumenauer explained. He stated the Village is taking all steps to maintain a steady tax rate for the Village portion of the 2020 tax statements.
“The Village Board has made it very clear that I do everything I can to propose a budget that maintains or lowers the Village rate as appropriate while not decreasing services or operations,” he continued. “I am confident that that commitment is met.
“It is all about keeping people safe.”
Some of those challenges, he explained, revolve around Osceola is a community which depends on tourism as a source of revenue.
“We had to go different revenue sources,” he said,.
Krumenauer also said with the unknowns coming from Madison, being a recipient of the CARES Act from the federal government “helped stabilize our budget.”
The federal government also helped with the police department. Thanks to being a recipient of a federal COPS grant, it will aid in the funding to help the Village hire a full-time officer in 2021.
“The Village was one of the few that were selected throughout the state,” Krumenauer said, noting the priority was based on need. “It’s not too often you see grants given for cities north of Interstate Highway 94.”
Another challenge has been preparing and working through five elections in 2020.
“Our election budget is through the roof,” he said. 2021 looks to be better with only two scheduled as of now.
He praised department heads for taking the slow and steady route while planning and preparing the 2021 budget.
“They prioritized efforts,” he continued. “No discretionary spending was offered.”
With the pandemic, morale admittedly has been up-and-down throughout the ordeal, but the long road of providing services for Village residents is still there.
“We’ve got a phenomenal team of employees,” Krumenauer stated.
Krumenauer said besides Kwik Trip, which is scheduled to have its grand opening next year, the Village is drawing interest from all facets of business, whether, industrial, retail or commercial.
“We are excited to see what could happen,” he added.
He concluded by opining Osceola is in great shape for the future due to its proximity to the Twin Cities, its high quality of living, safe city streets and the school district, among other factors.
“I’m excited to see this community grow,” Krumenauer stated.