Balanced budget for Oak Creek may be on horizon


— Oak Creek could have a balanced budget in 2001 for the first time in memory, but it's not coming without a price.

The initial budget for next year shows the town at about a $91,000 deficit in spending. Town trustees asked acting treasurer Nancy Stahoviak to find a way to make up for the deficit through increased revenue and spending cuts.

The solution involves a 1 cent per kilowatt increase in electricity fees, a $1 a month increase in water rates and a $2.25 additional service charge on trash collection for residents.

If the budget is passed by the board, and additional spending is avoided, the town won't have to dip into reserve funds to keep operating.

"Whether or not we're going to be totally balanced, we'll see," Stahoviak said.

There's plenty of work to go on the budget and changes could be made, she said.

"This had to happen sooner or later," Oak Creek Mayor Deb Van Gundy said. "We can't keep dipping into our reserves."

The biggest hurdle the town faces is decreased revenues in its electric fund.

Next year, the fund stands to be $8,015 in the black. Last year it earned $104,283.

Stahoviak said an increase cost of service and generator maintenance is the big drain in the fund.

That has a ripple effect in the rest of the funds in the town. Usually the electric fund is used to offset spending in other areas of the town budget.

The trustees have until December to mull over the budget and decide if raises in water, electricity and trash will be put into effect for next year.

However, Stahoviak said the budget will be hard to balance without increasing the revenues in the fund.


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