By Patricia Bogumil

Waterford Post interim editor

Town and Village of Waterford officials hope that local taxpayers will realize they totally get it – times are tough and paying taxes is rough.

And while the first thing taxpayers would like to see is a big drop in taxes (usually the last thing likely to happen), the 2012 budget proposals for both Town and Village of Waterford manage to keep local tax levies, and tax rates, steady at about last year’s levels.

In the 2012 budget, Waterford Township is down $18,000 in state road aids; $5,000 in state monies for recycling; and $26,000 in shared revenues, said Town Chairman Robert Langmesser. That adds up to a $49,000 loss in state monies compared to last year’s budget.

To address that challenge and also prepare for the future, different strategies were employed in the 2012 budget, Langmesser said.

• About $22,000 was cut from the Police Department budget, said Langmesser, to eliminate daily “power shift” patrolling, in which two officers are on duty at the same time in different squads.

• Also, $28,000 less needed to be included in this year’s budget because a new 2010 police squad was purchased last year with grant money, said Langmesser. That 2010 vehicle was bought a year in advance and stored.

Besides the obvious advantage of buying with grant rather than local monies, the new 2010 squad was priced about $1,500 less than 2011 models.

Also, the town’s current light bars and other equipment can still be used on that 2010 vehicle, said Langmesser. Later models are built differently and will have to be outfitted with compatible equipment.

• About $70,000 could be cut from the Department of Public Works budget, he said, because last year the town bought a new DPW truck and does not need to buy another in the 2012 budget.

• In addition, all DPW and clerk/treasurer employees, the police chief and all Town Board members took a pay freeze, said Langmesser.

The town’s police officers will continue to work under a union contract that is in effect through 2012.

• Also, the DPW and clerk/treasurer employees will now start contributing about 5.8 per cent into their pensions, said Langmesser,

It is also anticipated that employees will pay more toward their health insurance premiums.

Levy and tax rate:

Last year’s Town of Waterford tax levy was $1.846 million. The proposed 2012 levy is $1.865 million, for a 1.058 percent increase, or nearly a wash, said Langmesser.

He said he expects the town’s portion of the mil rate to end up “about the same, maybe a three-cent difference,” from the town’s previous $2.46 rate per $1,000 of property valuation.

For the owner of a $200,000 home, a $2.49 town rate adds up to $498 in town taxes, or $6 more than was paid under last year’s $2.46 town rate.

The total mil rate to be paid per each $1,000 of assessed valuation is still being prepared by the Racine County Treasurer and will include taxes from several other entities besides the township, including Racine County and the schools.

“Right now we’ve balanced the budget for this year even with all the cuts by the state,” commented Langmesser, “but next year will be the big one.”

He explained that Town Assessor Kathy Romanak has already advised the board to expect less money coming in next year as assessed property valuations drop, especially for waterfront properties.

People have been getting their houses re-appraised, Langmesser explained, and not much construction is under way in the township.

Budget meetings:

The Town of Waterford proposed 2012 municipal budget will be presented at a public hearing at the Town Hall, 415 N. Milwaukee St., at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 21.

Immediately following, the Town Board will meet to discuss and adopt the Year 2012 township budget.

The town’s proposed 2012  budget, in detail, is available for inspection at the Town Clerk/Treasurers’ office in the Town Hall from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.