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By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — The preliminary 2024 budget for the Village of Elk Mound shows total expenditures of $779,039, representing an increase of $46,039 over 2023.
Elk Mound has a 15.46 percent increase in net new construction, which allows the property tax levy to increase by $40,000, said Karin Wolf, village clerk-treasurer, at the Elk Mound Village Board’s November 6 meeting.
State law allows the property tax levy to increase using a formula that applies the increase in net new construction.
The increase in the property tax levy will stay in the Tax Increment Finance District, Wolf said.
The net new construction helps to raise the levy, but the additional property taxes stay in the TID, she said.
In a Tax Increment Finance District, the taxing authorities — village, county, school district and technical school district — continue to receive the property taxes from the base value in the TID. The additional property taxes generated by improvements in the TID are deposited into a special account where the money remains for 20 or 26 years, depending on the kind of TID, until the TID is closed out.
The municipality can use money in the TID account to pay for infrastructure improvements in the tax increment district, such as sewer, water and streets, during the life of the TID.
When the TID is closed out, any of the property tax money remaining in the account is paid out to the taxing authorities.
TIF districts neither hurt nor help school districts, because if there is money remaining when the TID is closed out, the state reduces the amount of state aid to the school district by the amount the school district received from the TID.
The village board could decide to take the debt payments outside of the revenue limit next year, Wolf said.
State law allows municipalities to add the amount to pay back debt to the levy limit, rather than making the payment out of the funds generated within the levy limit.
For example, if a municipality had a levy limit of $100,000 and a debt payment of $50,000, the municipality could add the $50,000 to the $100,000 so that residents are paying $150,000 in property taxes.
If the municipality leaves the debt payment within the levy limit, after paying the $50,000 for debt, the municipality would have $50,000 remaining for other expenses.
The committee chairs and the department heads did their best to make cuts and keep expenses down, said Terry Stamm, village president.
The budget has a deficit of $9,000, and the money to cover the deficit could be taken out of savings, he said.
Sean Lentz of Ehlers and Associates could give the village some advice on how best to manage the village’s finances, Stamm said.
Ehlers is the village’s financial consultant.
Instead of taking $9,000 out of the savings account, $29,000 could be taken out to help reduce the increase, Stamm said.
A discussion of the budget could be put on the agenda for the November 20 meeting so Wolf would have time to consult with Lentz, he said.
Elk Mound usually holds the budget hearing and approves the budget early in December.
Right now, it appears the village will have $240,000 in savings at the end of the year, Stamm said.
Tim Benjamin, village trustee, said he did not want to pay more in taxes, but he also did not want to take more out of savings than necessary.
Sean Lentz with Ehlers will have some good advice, Stamm said.
The village residents depend on the department heads and the village board to stay within the budget, and because the department heads and village board have stayed within the budget over the years, that is the reason why there is a savings account, he said.
Here is the preliminary revenue budget for the Village of Elk Mound for 2024.
Total revenue of $779,039, representing an increase of $51,938.
Total expenditures of $779,039, representing an increase of $46,838.