Knoebel joins Oak Creek Town Board

Trustees give preliminary OK to $4.9M 2010 budget

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— Thursday's Oak Creek Town Board meeting provided an early glimpse of some potential candidates for April's town election.

Nikki Knoebel was chosen from a field of three applicants to replace former Trustee Dave Ege, who resigned last month for personal reasons. The appointment lasts until April, when Ege's seat and four others will be up for election. Knoebel has lived in Oak Creek for seven years and is the special events coordinator at Catamount Ranch & Club.

"I'm just interested in being on the board and trying to make a difference and help out," Knoebel told the board.

Knoebel and the other two women who applied for the temporary post, Dawn Smith and Jackie Brown, indicated that they very well may try to win a full four-year term in April. Oak Creek Mayor J Elliott told Smith and Brown not to be discouraged that they weren't chosen and encouraged them to run in April.

"You better run in April," Elliott said. "You're what we're looking for. You're young. You're intelligent."

Also Thursday, the Town Board gave preliminary approval to a $4.9 million 2010 budget. About $3 million of that total is for renovations to the town's wastewater treatment plant and is being paid for by grants and loans. The budget shows general fund revenues decreasing from a projection of $382,064 in 2009 to $349,714 in 2010. General fund expenditures are budgeted at $331,135.

The budget is based on planned utility rate increases including 10 percent increases in water and wastewater fees and a $0.50 a month increase in trash services. While acknowledging that it was a painful time to be increasing rates, the trustees said they felt they had no choice.

"To keep this thing fiscally sound and responsible, we've got to do it," Elliott said.

The water fund is projected to end 2010 with an undesignated fund balance of just $76,592. Utility rate increases still must be formally adopted by resolution at a later Town Board meeting.

Trustee Wendy Gustafson suggested creating a process by which the utility funds could be replenished each year by a certain amount from the general fund to help make up for past raids on the funds by previous boards. The other trustees expressed support for the idea, but no formal action was taken.

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