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LITH on verge of 2013 budget

LAKE IN THE HILLS – Village Board members are poised to approve a $30.4 million budget for next fiscal year, which begins Jan. 1.

The budget is balanced from an operations standpoint, and includes $1.5 million from reserves to pay off debt for renovation and expansion of a public works building in 2006, said Village Administrator Gerald Sagona in an email to the Northwest Herald.

This debt is being paid off seven years early.

The Village Board is to vote on the budget Thursday.

Next year, the village plans to spend $900,000 to replace water mains in a multiyear program scheduled to be completed in 2015.

To pay for the improvements, the village is planning to raise water rates 3 percent, which would amount to 40 cents a month more for a customer who uses about 6,000 gallons every three months.

The water-rate increase is planned to go into effect Jan. 1.

“Our new water rates will keep us in the middle of the range of [neighboring] communities,” Director of Public Works Fred Mullard wrote in a village memo.

In the budget, employees not covered by a union contract will receive a 2 percent cost-of-living raise, Sagona said in a memo to the Village Board.

Because of the summer drought, the village budgeted $6,000 to replace 40 trees that died in municipal parks.

In the police department, the village plans to add a part-time community service officer to handle the “ever increasing non-emergency services provided by the department,” Sagona wrote.

The police department also plans to spend $113,000 to replace four squad cars, each with more than 100,000 miles on them, according to a budget summary.

Next year, the village plans to resurface more than 3.6 miles of roadway with $826,000 in motor-fuel taxes.

The village also plans to spend $182,680 on airport capital improvements. That money will serve as a 5 percent local match for eligible projects, where 90 percent is paid for by the federal government and 5 percent comes from the state.

The Village Board on Thursday also will vote on its annual tax levy. The levy is estimated to be $5.49 million. Last year’s was $5.56 million.

Peter Stefan, the finance director, estimated that what homeowners pay to village should go down about 1.2 percent on average because the village is asking for less money.

This is the second consecutive year the village has decreased its tax levy.

But final rates won’t be set until property values are finalized in spring.

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