Town of Rutland: Taxes to rise slightly

Owners of a $200,000 home in the Town of Rutland will see a roughly $20 increase in the town portion of their property tax bill this year, following a Nov. 17 budget hearing. 

The meeting saw only town officials in attendance, with no appearances from the public.

In an email to the Observer last week, Rutland chairman Mark Porter said the main reason for the 3.62 percent increase in the town portion of their property tax bill were from EMS services in Oregon, Stoughton and Brooklyn. These increases were “primarily offset” by Stoughton paying a five-year amount of compensation in lieu of property taxes for the town land the city has recently annexed.

Porter said the decrease in overall assessed value is due to the annexation by the City of Stoughton of car dealerships in the town.


Busy fall continues at Anderson Park

Map submitted Roe Parker, president of Anderson Park Friends, says he plans to establish a prairie in what is now a clearing in the forest south of Oregon.

It’s been a busy fall for the Anderson Park Friends, the volunteer group that has taken charge of developing the park south of Oregon.

APF organized bonfires, campfires and candlelight hikes in September and October through the 30-acre Arthur Sholts Memorial Forest.

They also held a candlelight walk on Saturday, Nov. 7, which attracted over 200 participants.

The group also won an $875 grant earlier this month to further develop the park next year.

“I think this shows that the community is really ready for the development of the park, and that’s why this grant’s important,” said APF president Roe Parker. “We need to start getting more grants like this so we can do more developmental work.”


Town of Dunn: 2016 budget approved

Electors in the Town of Dunn approved the 2016 budget last week without changes to the proposed budget.

Clerk-treasurer/business manager Cathy Hasslinger said there was “a good turnout of town residents” at the meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 17. 

The 2016 budget will include a $2.77 tax rate increase on $1,000 of assessed property value, while the levy will increase by $36,000, from $1.75 million to $1.78 million.

The budget calls for spending $320,000 on road reconstruction next year, as well as $127,000 to complete the restoration of the Dyreson Bridge and replacing the town garage at a cost of $75,000.


Center continues despite aid cut

File photo by Samantha Christian. Between 20 and 35 kids come to hang out at the Oregon Youth Center after school.

For about a half-hour earlier this month, Oregon Youth Center board president Erin Chisman had to envision the possibility of closing sometime in 2016.

OYC director Diane Newlin had the same thoughts running through her head as they sat at the Village of Brooklyn budget hearing Monday, Nov. 9, watching as trustees voted against the $3,800 the center requested, among a rash of other cuts that were ahead for the village. Although the village eventually restored some of the funding, an $800 cut from the request leaves a hole for the center to fill.

“We’re thankful to get the funding that we’re getting,” Newlin said. “The $800 deficit will be made up in fundraising, but $800 is much easier for us to make up than $3,800.”


Grant will help with expertise, training on invasive species

An $875 grant will help spur the removal of an invasive species and the clearing of trails within a portion the new park.

The group that supports the development of Anderson Farm County Park on Oregon’s southern boundary announced last week it was awarded the grant from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and the C.D. Besadny Conservation fund, said the group’s president, Roe Parker.

“The grant will be used to clear buckthorn,” he told the Observer. “We’re going to clear two acres in the park; we’ll be doing that by next summer.”


Dane County budget funds several village projects

The Village of Oregon will receive funding to help repair Jefferson Street as part of the $567 million Dane County budget approved Monday.

 The budget, which still must be approved by County Executive Joe Parisi, will mean an increase of $34.37 to the average household’s property tax bill.

Dist. 31 Sup. Jerry Bollig, who represents Oregon, said increased revenues, including sales tax collection that was “way up,” made for a “much easier” budget process this year. He said because of that, the board was able to add to Parisi’s proposed budget instead of cutting, which will help several projects that involve the Oregon area. 

“The main things everybody is used to enjoying will continue as-is,” he said. “And of course, getting the streets in top shape is a priority right now.”


Village of Brooklyn: Successful cuts bring tax rate down

Village of Brooklyn residents will actually have a small cut in village taxes after the budget presented in a public hearing earlier this month projected a more significant increase.

Prior to the Nov. 9 public budget hearing, the mill rate would have increased 2.7 percent, according to budget documents, and clerk Carol Strause told the Observer that would have translated to a mill rate increase of 25 cents per $1,000 of property value.

At that Nov. 9 meeting, though, the Village Board cut numerous items, including two new proposed staff positions, bringing the tax rate lower than last year by 6 cents. The final mill rate will depend on which county a Brooklyn resident lives in, but the owner of a $200,000 home will pay $12 less for the village’s portion of their property bill this year.


Town of Oregon: Budget, levy will increase

Town of Oregon electors approved the town’s tax levy Nov. 11.

The final mill rate is a 22-cent increase from the 2015 rate, which would cost the owner of a $200,000 home an additional $44 in the town portion of their property taxes.

The 13 town residents in attendance at the town’s annual budget hearing asked “reasonable questions” about what funds fell into what categories, town clerk Denise Arnold said, but that was it.

“It was very general,” Arnold said.

Draft meeting minutes show that Arnold explained the improvements that will be made to the Town Hall, that the town will purchase an $80,000 truck and how loan payments affected the levy.

For information on the budget, visit and click on “Budget” on the left side menu.


Village of Oregon budget holds steady

The Village of Oregon’s 2016 budget includes funding for two new full-time firefighters, on-body cameras for the Oregon Police Department, as well as $400,000 for a new jet vacuum for the public works department.

The Village Board Monday adopted village administrator Mike Gracz’s proposed budget with little discussion after meeting three times in October in budget workshops.

The mill rate increased to $5.52 per $1,000 of assessed value, a 0.6 percent rise from $5.48, while the average home value grew from $220,000 to $225,000. That means the owner of an average-value home will pay $35.30 more in village property taxes, for a total of $1,242.11.

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


Private school vouchers more than doubled in Wisconsin

The amount of students receiving state vouchers to attend private schools in Wisconsin rose dramatically in the past year.

According to a press release last month from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, private school vouchers were issued to 2,514 students in the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP) for the 2015-16 school year, after just over 1,000 students were in the program last year. Of the 1,640 new students in the voucher program, nearly 20 percent attended a public school last year.

The number of schools participating in the program also rose, from 31 last year to 82 this year.

Changes to state law recently eliminated the previous WPCP cap of 1,000 FTE students. Enrollment in the WPCP voucher program in 2015-16 from a single public school district is limited to 1 percent of the school district’s student population.


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