Council holds 2024 budget hearing

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The Prairie du Chien Common Council convened on Nov. 29 at the City Hall Council Chambers for a Budget Hearing to review the proposed 2024 budget for the city.

In attendance were council members Jaaren Riebe, Vicki Waller, Kelssi Ziegler, Kayla Ingham, Nick Crary, Pam Kiesau, and Carlos Cantero, Jr. Chad Abram, City Administrator; Dave Hemmer, Mayor; Nate Gilberts, City Planner; Nick Gilberts, Street Superintendent; Tina Fuller, City Clerk and Treasurer, were also present. Nate Bremmer, First District Alderman, was absent from the meeting.

Abram introduced the proposed budget, which had a tax levy of $3,631,626.98 and a mil rate of $9.60 on every $1,000 of taxable property. The levy was up approximately 8.13 percent from the previous year. The levy increase amounted by $273,059.25 and the mil rate increase was $0.71.

Abram stated the budget increased by “about $600,000” for 2024. He cited increased wages and insurance for city employees, IT costs and price hikes in gasoline and utility costs as primary reasons for the larger budget.

Abram stated the wage increases could attract more people to the area.

Among other noted costs, Abram stated two dispatchers were hired, which will open up grant opportunities that could off-set capital costs at the Dispatch Center.

General Government expenditures were increased under the proposed budget because “much of the IT costs” were taken from the Public Safety budget and placed in General Government.

The mil rate increase was credited to the city’s assessed value, which was lower than the equalized value determined by the State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR). Abram said the city’s assessed value  was at 72 percent of the state’s determination. This put the city below the 90 percent threshold for compliance. Bloomington, WI, residents found themselves in a similar position after the DOR assessment.

Despite the increased levy and mil rate, Abram stated Prairie du Chien residents should see a lower tax bill because of a decreased levy and mil rate from the Prairie du Chien School District (levy: $5,200,000, mil rate: $6.11) and Crawford County (levy: $9,344,283, mil rate: $5.22). Along with the city, the county, school district and vocational institutions (ex. Southwest Technical College) make up the tax bill for property owners.

The Common Council unanimously approved the budget at the hearing.

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