Feb. 5, 2019 – West Bend, WI – West Bend City Administrator Jay Shambeau spent about 30 minutes during Monday night’s Common Council meeting rolling out details on the Transportation and Future Borrowing Plan for 2020.
The biggest talking point was how the City has reduced its debt from $80 million to $47 million in a matter of seven years.
District 1 alderman John Butschlick studied the numbers as Dist. 2 Alderman Mike Christian looked at the Power Point presentation on screen.
It was February 2016 when Mayor Kraig Sadownikow first talked about “bending the curve” and working to pay down debt by implementing a program called “truth in budgeting.”
By studying the budget in 2011 the mayor and then Dist. 7 Alderman Adam Williquette found “debt payments on borrowing were draining finances.”
Over the past eight years the city buckled down and reduced capital borrowing by initiating a $1.5 million cap on borrowing for three years.
Williquette said “paying down the debt will take time, but it allows the city to continue to move forward without raising taxes.”
Fast forward to February 2019 and the city has knocked $33 million in debt off the books and is in good standing to move forward on a plan to fix the roads without increasing taxes.
“I wasn’t part of this council when you guys started tightening the belts around here but I have to say I’m happy to see we are in the categories that we are regarding comparatives to other municipalities and all the numbers make me feel really good moving forward,” said Christian.
Mayor Kraig Sadownikow issued the statement below.
“The increase in reserves, reduction in debt and hopeful increase in Capital expenditures/Maintenance while still reducing overall debt is the culmination of about 7 years worth of work and promises that ‘we are bending the debt curve downward.’
I believe this is good government in action. We worked hard and took some arrows to make significant changes to how we operate, budget and spend. We had to right size some areas, completely cut others, and change our standard method of doing business to get to the point where we can begin investing back into the community while still remaining small-ish and efficient.
Rather than taking the easy route and increasing revenue (taxes) when we ran into tough budget challenges, we did what any well run family or business would do, reduce debt. We have freed up over $1 million in debt payments that can now be re-invested into the community,”
Below is a summary of the data released at the meeting. Aldermen will review and take up a measure in March regarding a proposal to increase borrowing to $3 million annually and dedicate $2 million to city streets.
February 4, 2019 – City of West Bend Common Council Meeting
Transportation and Future Borrowing Summary
In Fiscal Year 2020 there is a $1.1 million reduction in our current debt schedule.
Recommendation from 2018 street referendum included in this increased borrowing
Long Range Transportation Planning Committee reviewed this increased borrowing recommendation last Friday, Feb. 1.
Current debt management policies include total general obligation debt service to non-capital expenditure shall be at no higher than 20%
Additional debt policy proposal to keep the percentage of debt limit no higher than 10% below than the median of comparable communities
Increase annual borrowing to $3 million beginning in 2020
Dedicate $2 million annually to road maintenance/reconstruction
Additional borrowing of $2.7 million in 2021 to fund Seventh Avenue and $1.8 million in 2022 for 18th Avenue
Federal grant funding received for DOT STP – Urban $2.3 million – 57% (2019-2021)
7th Avenue to be reconstructed in 2021 and 18th completed in 2022
Overall debt service levy rate levels out at approx. 1.4 – 1.5%
Total debt continues to decline from $47 million to just under $28 million by 2028