Oak Creek's budget on table tonight

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The town of Oak Creek's 2005 proposed budget is similar to what it has been in the past few years, with most changes because of grants that Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman has secured, Town Clerk Nancy Crawford said.

Total expenditures are estimated at $2.5 million, with $1 million for a new wastewater treatment plant. Revenues, including grants, are expected to balance those expenses, Crawford said.

Because the town has been functioning without a full-time treasurer since late summer, the proposed budget is not as finessed as the town would like, Crawford said.

"We've done what we can, but it's not really an ideal budget," Crawford said.

The budget needs to be turned in to the state by the month's end, so the Oak Creek Town Board should approve some form of the budget at tonight's meeting. But, adjustments can be made during the year as needed, she said.

Because the 2005 budget is laid out differently than the 2004 budget, Crawford said it is difficult to compare the two years directly. The 2004 budget estimated $3.4 million in expenses, and Crawford said that higher value is because of different accounting methods.

The town's budget historically has included about $1 million in expenses.

The biggest item on the town's 2005 proposed budget is the $1 million wastewater treatment plant the town needs to build to comply with state regulations. The town has received a $500,000 grant toward the project, and is hoping for another $500,000 grant-loan combination. Operating expenses for the sewer fund are estimated at $52,000.

The town just got its new water treatment plant online and is paying back that low-interest loan at the cost of about $72,000 annually.

In the general fund, current operating expenses are proposed to be almost $700,000. The personnel budget increased mostly because of salary increases, Crawford said. All employees received a 5 percent salary increase, and some received more.

Capital expenses in the general fund are estimated at $76,000 and include $6,000 for tools, $50,000 toward a new public works shop, and $10,000 to purchase a grader, and the remaining dollars for administrative and public safety needs.

In the electric fund, operating expenses are budgeted at about $230,000, with $71,000 of capital outlay, which mostly will go toward installing a new electric line.

In the water fund, operating expenses are budgeted at $42,000, with a large capital outlay of $110,000 for a second water storage tank that could be erected at the north end of town and would create needed redundancy, Public Works Director Jim Photos said. That fund includes $82,000 of debt service, most of which is to pay back the new water treatment plant.

The final cost of putting a new roof on the town's ice rink has not been estimated, but $10,000 has been put in the town's 2005 budget in case the project goes over.

The Oak Creek Town Board meets at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. The agenda also includes an update on the ice rink, consideration of an amendment to the Sierra View Annexation Agreement, an update about the Hands on Housing program, a discussion of mandatory water meters for businesses and more.

-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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