Downtown Neenah could get a second parking ramp in the near future to support development. The existing ramp, shown in the background left of Alta Resources, was built in 2005 and has 950 parking stalls. (Photo: Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)
NEENAH – The 2021 city budget introduced by Mayor Dean Kaufert includes $1.1 million for the continued development of Arrowhead Park and $500,000 to design a new downtown parking ramp.
The money for Arrowhead Park would pay for the construction of a pier, development of a prairie with stone trails, and engineering for a railroad crossing. The work is part of an $8 million, multiyear plan to improve the waterfront park.
The $500,000 for the design and engineering of the parking ramp would occur after a site is identified.
An earlier plan called for borrowing $5 million in 2021 and $3 million in 2022 to pay for the construction of the ramp, but Kaufert didn’t include any money for construction next year. The coronavirus pandemic has eased the urgency but not the need, the mayor said.
“After the current pandemic is contained, our employers have assured me that all of the employees will be returning to work within the current buildings creating the need for more parking,” Kaufert said in his letter to the community.
The budget accounts for a 2% wage increase for employees, depending upon performance reviews, and a 10% increase in employee health care costs. No new positions were funded.
“Requests for additional positions were denied even though justification was made for them,” Kaufert said.
On the revenue side, the budget identifies $254,000 that the city anticipates receiving from the proposed annexation of the Alliant Energy power plant on Winnebago County CB.
RELATED: Bergstrom-led group will give $4 million to $5 million ice rink to Neenah
RELATED: Kaufert recommends Neenah spend $8 million on new parking ramp
Here’s what you need to know about the 424-page budget.
How much is the city spending?
As proposed, the budget totals $64.5 million. That’s up 3.6%.
The tax levy necessary to support the budget is $19.7 million, a 3.4% increase.
What’s it going to cost me?
The assessed tax rate would increase 2.5% to $8.40 per $1,000 of valuation. The owner of a $200,000 home would pay $1,680 in property taxes for city services next year. That’s an increase of $42.
The budget also accounts for a $3 increase in the annual recycling fee, bringing it to $40.
What are the major projects?
The budget includes $11.9 million for capital projects, a 10% increase. The projects would be funded by borrowing $11.7 million.
Noteworthy capital expenditures include:
- $1.1 million to reconstruct Marathon Avenue between Bell and Peckham streets.
- $1.1 million to pay for five-year hardware and software maintenance contracts for information systems. The expense previously was included in the operating budget.
- $425,000 to assist with the design of a roundabout and trails at Winneconne Avenue and County CB/Pendleton Road. Another $775,000 would be budgeted for the project in 2022.
- $300,000 to help pay for the construction of a $1 million trail along Jewelers Park Drive between Cecil and Harrison streets. The money is in addition to the $200,000 budgeted this year. The land and remaining $500,000 for the trail would come from private sources.
- $180,000 to construct tennis and pickleball courts at Doty Park.
- $147,000 to replace playground equipment at Memorial Park.
- $140,000 to reseal the roof at the Neenah Public Library.
- $100,000 to assist with the redevelopment of Bridgewood Golf Course.
The tax levy for debt payments would increase 4.4% to $3.6 million next year.
“The good news is that at the end of 2020, our debt load as a percent of the statutory limit will be 45.3%, which is down from 51.8% when I was first elected mayor” in 2014, Kaufert said.
Where can I find a copy of the budget?
The budget is posted on the city’s website under the Finance Department’s tab for financial reports.
What if I want to weigh in?
The public hearing on the budget tentatively is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 17. Residents are encouraged to participate virtually. The council is scheduled to vote on the budget after the hearing.
When am I going to get the bill?
Finance Director Mike Easker said property tax bills will be mailed within the first 10 days of December.
Contact Duke Behnke at 920-993-7176 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DukeBehnke.
Read or Share this story: https://www.postcrescent.com/story/news/local/2020/11/05/neenah-budgets-money-arrowhead-park-design-new-parking-ramp/6121546002/