Citing lack of benefits, Belgium doesn’t renew subscription to Mid-Moraine Municipal Association
The Village of Belgium approved its 2017 budget with little fanfare this month.
Nobody attended the annual budget public hearing, after which the Village Board adopted the budget and then an $845,463 levy, up 2.9% from last year.
The levy will require the owner of a $250,000 home to pay $1,505 in taxes, up $21 from this year.
The budget carries a $358 deficit, which was made up with fund balance, the village’s account typically used for emergencies and one-time purchases. Fund balance in 2017 will be $530,814.
The board discussed cutting $24,000 to bring the levy to last year’s level, but decided against it.
“The only thing we could cut out to get us down that much would be something in the capital fund,” Village President Vickie Boehnlein said.
“I thought we had it pretty much down to the bare bones last meeting,” Trustee Pete Anzia said.
Total revenues came to $1,927,190 with expenditures at $1,927,548.
The village decided against renewing its subscription to the Mid-Moraine Municipal Association, after questioning the value of belonging to the group.
Boehnlein said membership in the organization had been kept active at the request of former village president Richard Howells and Trustee Clem Gottsacker.
“I think we get a lot of value out of it,” Gottsacker said.
“My argument,” Boehnlein said, “is a lot of board members have argued it is of no benefit to them.”
Gottsacker said through the association the village got firsthand information on the smoking ban law several years ago.
“That’s just one example,” he said.
Anzia asked if the village could get information from the association without being a member, but Gottsacker said it would not.
“I’m not going to fight tooth and nail for this. I’m just bringing it up for information,” Gottsacker said, adding he is on his last term on the board.
Cost of membership is about $300. Boehnlein said the membership fee isn’t an issue, but she takes issue with Gottsacker’s use of the village’s car to attend association meetings. That means the marshal has to use his own car for patrol on those days.
The board voted 4-1 to discontinue its membership. Gottsacker voted against.
The budget and levy both passed, 5-0. Trustees Gail Kowalkowski and Dale Pfeifer did not attend.