Budget hearing set for Nov. 25

Town of Oregon residents will have a chance to weigh in on the town’s proposed budget next week. 

The town will hold its public budget hearing Nov. 25 on the proposed 2015 budget, which would be just under a 1 percent increase from the 2014 budget.

That would mean a mill rate of $2.29 per $1,000 of assessed property value, the same as last year, according to a budget summary from the town. 

The biggest change is a $27,000 jump in the public works expenditures, which town clerk Denise Arnold said was due to purchasing a new snowplow truck. 

“We don’t have any big projects,” Arnold said.

The hearing will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 25, at Town Hall.


Village board adopts 2015 budget

The Village Board unanimously adopted the village’s 2015 budget and tax levy Monday.

Despite a mill rate decrease, the owner of an average home in the village will pay $17.39 more in the village’s portion of property taxes – from $1,189 to $1,206. Property values increased 1.46 percent in the past year, and the average home value grew from $211,000 to $220,000.

The property tax bill, with the total rate for all districts, will be mailed to residents in mid-December.

The mill rate decreased 2.69 percent, from $5.63 per $1,000 of assessed value to $5.48.

The village’s total assessed value increased from $848.2 million to $893.5 million, a gain of 2.5 percent. The increase is due in part to increased home values and partly because of new construction.


The fix is in for Janesville Street … but not until spring

Photo by Mark Ignatowski. The county has jurisdiction over Janesville Street, which got very rough this past winter. The county and village agreed to include money in their 2015 budgets to fix the road.

Drivers in the village will have to put up with one more winter of an almost unbearably rough stretch of Janesville Street on the village’s south side.

The Village Board Monday authorized village administrator Mike Gracz to add $90,000 to the village’s 2015 budget for reconstructing a bad stretch of Janesville Street, along with adding $150,000 to replace outdated water mains in the area.

Dane County has jurisdiction over most of Janesville Street and plans to resurface a small portion of the roadway next year. County officials asked the village to pay for half the cost of the improvements, which the board approved Monday.


County budget deliberations next week

The Dane County Board of Supervisors is slated to take action on the county budget next week. 

A vote on county executive Joe Parisi’s budget, along with any changes proposed by supervisors, is expected at the board’s regular meeting Nov. 20. 

The county’s Personnel and Finance Committee has a budget deliberations meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 17. Further budget deliberation meetings for the county board are scheduled for Nov. 18 and Nov. 19, if needed. 

Agendas for next week’s meetings had not been posted as of press time Tuesday. For information, visit

Locally, specific projects include additional money for road projects and recreation improvements.

The proposed budget includes:


Small increase to tax rate in Town of Dunn budget proposal

Town of Dunn residents will see a slight bump in the town’s portion of their property tax bill this year if the town’s budget proposal is approved. 

Last year’s rate of $2.64 per $1,000 of assessed value would jump to $2.69 this year under the proposal, accounting for an extra $10 on a $200,000 home.

One of the biggest changes in the budget, according to the town newsletter budget summary by town clerk Cathy Hasslinger, is a return of more money to the road construction budget. Projects in 2015 include overlaying portions of Bible Camp, Willow, Crescent, Camp Leonard, Ridge and High Street and reconstructing about .5 miles of Tower Road. 

There is also $200,000 budgeted for the Dyreson Bridge historic restoration project, and $140,000 for a new tandem plow truck.


Brooklyn police chief receives written warning

The Village of Brooklyn board voted in October to issue a written warning to the village’s police chief after a miscommunication about him leaving town for a week.

Brooklyn police chief Harry Barger left for Columbus, Ohio, for one week beginning Sept. 22, according to an employee discipline form from the village provided by village officials after the Observer requested the warning. He sent an email Sunday night to Village President Nadine Walsten and the village clerk, but that did not satisfy the village’s notice requirements, the village board’s personnel committee decided. 


Turnout lower than expected, higher than ever

There were few surprises in last Tuesday’s relatively local races, as historically Democratic Dane County voters continued similar voting patterns.

Statewide vote totals were the highest ever recorded for a regular gubernatorial election at 54.25 percent, but fell short of turnout for the 2012 recall election where 57.8 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, according to data from the Government Accountability Board. The non-partisan election commission said in a news release that “the previous record voter turnout in a November gubernatorial election in the last 50 years was 52.4 percent in 1962…  In comparison, turnout in the last two presidential elections has averaged around 70 percent.”

Dane County turnout was at around 73 percent, according to unofficial results posted on the county clerk’s office website.


Plan: More for senior center, streets, equipment

The Village of Oregon will pay almost $20,000 more next year for its share of the Oregon Area Senior Center budget, and its proposed 2015 budget significantly increases spending on streets and spends $400,000 on a new piece of equipment for public works.

Other big items in the document include almost $650,000 on street improvements, about $50,000 for funding a full-time police officer and about $8,300 more for the Oregon Area Fire/EMS District to hire a full-time chief.

Village homeowners would see a slight increase in property taxes for next year.

The preliminary estimated tax increase for the village’s share of an average home valued at $220,000 is $17.39 – $1,206 this year vs. $1,189 last year.


Electors say no to new town hall

File photo. The Rutland Town Board is trying to replace its old town hall.

It might be back to the drawing board for the continuing attempt to build a new hall for the town of Rutland.

During the town’s reconvened annual meeting Sept. 9, three building resolutions were defeated, though a resolution for borrowing for any buildings approved was passed by voters.

Town residents had previously rejected borrowing up to $1 million for a new town hall at the April meeting.

The first resolution last month, which would have called for authorization of $982,605 for a new building, was defeated 101-90. The second, for an $856,340 building, was defeated 107-80, and a third asking for $786,981 for a new building was defeated 113-75. A final resolution asking for authorization to borrow money for any approved project was passed 109-80.

Growing issue


Budget hearing set for Nov. 10

File photo by Scott Girard. The Brooklyn Business Park, seen here at an opening ceremony in late 2013, still has no tenants, meaning the village must pay back the Tax Increment Finance loan through its general fund.

Village of Brooklyn residents will have a chance to weigh in Nov. 10 on a proposed nearly $1 increase per $1,000 of assessed value in the village’s budget proposal.

Under the proposal, the mill rate would increase to $9.21 per $1,000, a $0.99 jump from last year’s rate of $8.23, clerk Carol Strause said in an email. The exact rate will differ for residents in Dane and Green counties, but that would amount to a $198 increase for the owner of a $200,000 home.

Nearly all of that increase is thanks to a large jump in tax-increment financing expenses due to debt on the loan to purchase land and install infrastructure for the Brooklyn Business Complex.