Facing a $62,000 deficit for the upcoming budget year, the Osceola Village Board discussed potential solutions ranging from raising fees to spending reserves to having employees pay more for benefits
The Osceola Village Board held a special meeting on Sept. 23 to discuss the 2021 budget.
Village Administrator Benjamin Krumenauer laid out the revenues and expenditures at special meeting Sept. 23, answering questions from the Board.
As of the meeting, Krumenauer explained the Village is looking at a $62,000 deficit for the budget.
He presented three scenarios: 1) Reduce expenditures by cutting contracts or services, increasing the percent of benefits paid by employees, reducing funds to the Chamber, Main Street program, PCEDC. 2) Increasing user fees for things like title searches; 3) Less conservative on revenue by reducing the amount of reserves.
Trustee Bob Schmidt stated he didn’t want to balance the budge on the employees, citing the effect it would have on morale. Trustee Deb Rose and Village President Jeromy Buberl agreed. Trustee Bruce Gilliand favored the revenue option, while Trustee Bradley Lutz supported special assessments.
Buberl proposed possibly increasing the building permit fees, which Rose supported. Krumenauer recommended cutting the IT contract, but since they are in the middle of a contract, the Village would have to pay back the discount.
Discussion then sprung into Parks. Coordinator Todd Waters said 2020 has been difficult in sanitation with a massive uptake in visitors to keep the downtown clean.
Police Chief Ron Pedrys said off-site training has been reduced and no special events have been held recently, resulting in reduced staffing. Rose asked if Fire Department wages are comparable to other departments. Schmidt stated they were.
Buberl asked about proposed airport expenses for 2021. Krumenauer replied he hasn’t inputted those numbers in yet, because it doesn’t count against the general budget.
How did the $62,000 figure occur, trustee Joel West asked. Krumenauer said a big chunk is staff with administration department down and police up due to the Wisconsin Retirement System payments in the Police Department being underestimated due to human error.
Lutz, the newcomer to the Board, asked what has been done in the past when it comes to deficits? Krumenauer said the normal response is being more conservative on spending.
Lutz then asked about financial commitments due to union contracts. Schmidt replied the 4% increase in the police is robust because the Board wanted to catch them up. Rose said in the past the village has hired and trained officers and then they leave.
Krumenauer added in 2020, every project was frozen and had no excessive expenditures.
The Village is waiting for assessed values from the State of Wisconsin before the budget goes for public hearing and adoption.