The Village Board will be reviewing budget information for the next 60 days, with an all-day budget meeting scheduled for Saturday, November 7, 2009. Due to a substantial cut in state shared revenues and lower than expected revenues in other areas (interest income, recycling income & building permit fees), the Village will be investigating ways to economize. This includes process improvements and finding ways to reduce discretionary spending. Village staff’s goal during the budget process is the same as every year – to produce a budget that does not raise the Village tax levy above net new construction from the prior year. This means there should be almost no adverse Village impact to the average residential property owner.

Since all Howard residents pay property taxes to five taxing jurisdictions (Howard-Suamico School District, Brown County, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, State of Wisconsin and Village of Howard), the Village annually monitors what portion of your property tax bill is allocated to us. In 2000, 21.8 cents from every tax dollar went to the Village. In 2009, 18.1 cents from every tax dollar went to the Village. In 2010, the number should remain around the 18.1 cents per tax dollar.

If anyone has questions regarding our budget process, please do not hesitate to contact your elected officials or myself.

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If you are reading my blog, you are probably aware of the Village’s foray into other social media tools. The Village started Twitter and Facebook accounts early in 2009. We use these tools to relay information in concise formats to keep residents informed of road closures, recreation programming, important news, etc.

The Village also uses an e-Notify (email) system to provide timely information to the public. If you are interested in using this tool, please visit http://www.villageofhoward.com/e-notify.cfm.

Please consider becoming a fan of the Village of Howard’s Facebook page or subscribe to our Twitter account (twitter.com/villageofhoward).

Akzo NobelThe Village of Howard will host its annual Community Fest 17-19 July at the Akzo Nobel Sports Complex. This year’s list of events and activities include a movie in the park (Kung Fu Panda), a magic show, inflatable rides, pony rides, face painting, fire works, and carnival games among others.

On Saturday there will be free bowling at Village Lanes (Velp Avenue) and Sunday is community day at Village Green Golf Course. For more information regarding Community Fest events and activities, please visit HowardCommunityFest.com.

While in Howard, please take time to visit one of our wonderful businesses or take advantage of our great restaurants!

BP PirateThe Bay Port Pirates baseball team won the Division I State Title on June 18th. Winning a state championship in any sport is a tremendous accomplishment. Winning a state championship on a bases loaded suicide squeeze, with an 0-2 count, in extra innings, is about as dramatic as you can get.

As my wife and I watched the game this past Thursday, I thought about all the hard work and effort that is required by the coaching staff, parents and players to reach a state finals in any sport. The dedication of the aforementioned is sometimes forgotten, because so much of the work is done outside of the public eye.

There is no doubt in my mind this experience will positively affirm to these young players and the coaching staff the values of hard-work, perserverance, accountability and teamwork. All of these values create an excellent foundation of leadership, which can be used in other aspects of their lives, including future community service (be it serving in a civic organization, as a local elected official or simply for community betterment).

Congratulations to the 2009 Division I State Baseball Champions – the Bay Port Pirates!

Small bins

Small bins

 

  • 96-gal Recycle 
  • On the June 8, 2009 Village Board agenda, the Board will consider purchasing approximately 5,600 standardized recycle containers – this cost would then be passed on to all residential recycling users (most likely on the next property tax bill). This blog post is meant to provide more detailed information for the general public to ensure they understand the action being considered by the Village Board.

    In September 2008, the Village Board approved a new five year recycling/refuse contract with Veolia ES Solid Waste Midwest, LLC, effective January 1, 2009. The new recycling contract allowed the Village to begin co-mingling recyclables in the summer of 2009, with two options:

    1) Residents could use the same, smaller bins they currently are using, or
    2) Residents would be allowed to purchase a 96 gallon recycling cart (similar in size to their garbage cart) for a specified price

    It is important to note that both options listed above are currently available and acceptable by the existing contract.

    After Howard’s contract was approved, other communities like Suamico and Bellevue approved contracts that mandated their residents switch to the larger recycling carts (I believe those communities had options for the size of cart they wanted…between 60-96 gallons). Since all of Veolia’s other communities serviced in Brown County (Suamico, Bellevue, Ledgeview & Lawrence) were moving to the standardized, larger recycling carts, Veolia presented a letter to the Village dated May 17, 2009 indicating if the Village Board approved an amendment to the existing contract and required the standardized carts, they would provide a discounted rate ($43.75/cart) to acquire, construct (the large carts come in several pieces), deliver and record the serial numbers of these carts. Veolia indicated since their order for the standardized carts for the other communities will be made this month (June 2009), they would recognize a significant economy-of-scale and would pass that cost savings to the Village of Howard.

    Policy Analysis

    There are pros & cons for leaving the current system in place, versus going to the mandated larger recycling carts.

    The pros for using the existing recycling bins include:

  1. No additional cost to the residential homeowner for using the existing bins
  2. The Village of Howard’s contract prices approved in September 2008 would remain intact from January 2009 through December 2014
  3. Residents could switch to the larger cart at their discretion through December 2014
  4. Takes up less space in the garage

    The pros for going to the mandated larger recycling carts include:

  1. Minimizes recyclables blowing around on windy days (i.e., cleaner looking community)
  2. Keeps stray animals from digging through recyclables
  3. If purchased at the same time as the other communities, the cost of the cart could be $5 to $15 cheaper (especially when Veolia is offering to assemble and deliver the carts) My caveat: Since my crystal ball is no clearer than anyone elses, I cannot state with metaphysical certitude carts will be more expensive when purchased later, but that would appear to be the case.
  4. Makes recycling easier, which (hopefully) translates to less annual tonnage at the landfill, which saves taxpayers $$$ (especially with the current state budget raising tipping fees at landfills by $7/ton).

    One last consideration…the Village of Howard absorbs the cost of garbage & recycling services through property taxes. Suamico & Bellevue charge homeowners for this service outside of their property taxes, either as a monthly charge or an annual charge.  By reducing tipping fees, it assists in keeping Howard’s tax rate lower, since we do pay our costs through property taxes.

    I realize there is alot of information in this blog post to sift through. If you have an opportunity, I would encourage interested individual(s) to attend the Village Board meeting on June 8, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. at Village Hall (2456 Glendale Avenue) to hear firsthand the public discussion. If anyone has further questions but cannot attend the meeting, please contact me or any elected official at your convenience.  I maybe reached at Village Hall 920/434-4640 or by email: jsmith@villageofhoward.com.

The Village Board will meet Monday, June 8, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. The agenda is very large, due to not having a second meeting in May. Please review the agenda when it is posted this Friday (June 5, 2009) on the village web page – http://www.villageofhoward.com.

Veolia Environmental Services, who handles the Village’s recycling and sanitation collection services, mailed a letter to the Village recently indicating Governor Doyle’s proposed state budget calls for new taxes of $4.40 on each ton of waste sent to a Wisconsin landfill. A $4.40 per ton tax/rate increase would significantly impact the Village’s waste handling costs, based on our volume. In 2008, we hauled 3,750.38 tons of local garbage to the landfill. The proposed increase would impact the village taxpayers to the tune of an additional $16,502/annually.

The super-majority of additional fees will not be used to improve recycling or waste services. The estimated $33 million in additional fees will be used for unrelated state spending, including $21 million in debt service and $4 million to create a new BioEnergy Institute.

I urge our residents to discuss this new “tax” with their state representatives to ensure everyone is fully informed. If you feel these fees are not being utilized properly or unnecessary, please let your representatives know.