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Council approves 2012 city budget

City of Waupaca taxpayers will not see an increase in the amount of city taxes they pay to support the 2012 city budget.

“Congratulations, Waupaca. You have a 2012 budget that will not increase taxes, the mill rate or the levy for 2012,” Mayor Brian Smith said after the Common Council approved the budget on Oct. 18 by a vote of 7-1.

The vote came during the council’s regular monthly meeting and was a month earlier than usual.

Paul Lehman voted no, and Deb Fenske and John Lockwood were absent.

The approximately $7 million city budget will be supported by a tax levy of $3.338 million, up $64 from the present levy. The city’s current mill rate of $9.89 per $1,000 of assessed valuation will remain the same, City Administrator Henry Veleker said.

He noted that the city’s assessed value went up a little more than $2 million.

The approved budget includes a borrow of about $710,000 for capital outlay from the State Trust Fund for the 2012 and 2013 budget years.

There was no further discussion on the proposed budget by members of the Common Council before their Oct. 18 vote on it.

A public hearing on next year’s city budget preceded the council meeting. One person spoke, with the hearing lasting about five minutes.

Paul Shrode lives in Appleton, works at Fox Valley Technical College’s Waupaca Regional Center and is the chairman of the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce’s Tourism and Promotion Committee.

An agreement between the city and the chamber for the distribution of room taxes was also on the council’s agenda that night. The city’s proposal included giving the chamber $20,000 less in room tax funding.

That $20,000 will instead go to the city. The decrease in funding to the chamber was approved as part of the 2012 budget.

During the public hearing, Shrode said room tax dollars are intended to be used for the promotion of tourism, and the chamber wants to see that intent maximized.

A five-year agreement between the city and the chamber regarding the room tax expires in December. A one-year agreement through next September was approved 8-0 by the council. That vote took place before the council’s vote on the 2012 budget.

This is the formula for how the room taxes derived from the first 5 percent of the tax collected will be distributed:

• Of the amount collected, the city will deduct a 5 percent administration fee for its cost to administer the room tax.

• Next, the city’s share for tourism promotion – $20,000 in 2012 – will be deducted.

• The chamber’s allocation will then be 50 percent of the remainder.

• The distribution to the Waupaca Area Youth Hockey Association will be $25,000.

• The distribution to City Band will be $5,000.

• The balance will then be distributed to tourism-related projects through a competitive grant process.

In 1990 that the city instituted a 5 percent room tax.

In 2007, the city adopted an additional 3 perecent room tax, as part of an arrangement with the Chamber, to provide additional financial resources for tourism promotion within the Waupaca area. This tax provides additional funding to the Chamber for a dedicated tourism development staff position.

The distribution formula for the room taxes derived from the 3 percent tax will not change. The chamber will continue to receive 70 percent and the city 30 percent.

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