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Carli Pope

Common Council Meeting

Filed under: Feature Story — Carli Pope at 3:53 pm on Monday, October 7, 2019

What happened this week?

A Common Council meeting was held at the Municipal Building in downtown Whitewater last Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m.  A lot was discussed Tuesday night about the upcoming 2020-city budget, the Palmyra-Eagle referendum and events that are happening around town.

Cameron Clapper, the City Manager introduced the audience to the 2020 city budget. Clapper spoke about the budget briefing for the next few months:

•          October 1: Budget Delivery to Common Council

•          October 10-24: Finance Committee Review

•          November 5: Final Presentation to common council

•          November 19: Public Hearing and Adoption

Clapper explained the Tax Bill Breakdown to help the people understand where the money is going. The Common Council wants a balanced 2020 budget. The money goes to the State of Wisconsin, Walworth County, technical college, the Whitewater school district and the City of Whitewater.

The 2020 budget has gone up by 2.5%, which means it is at $9.8 million. Clapper mentioned,

“Property Taxes and Intergovernmental Revenue is where we draw funds. Intergovernmental revenue is beginning to get smaller”

The top 3 general fund expenditures are general government, public safety and public works and this was equalized in 2019. It was said by Clapper that,

“We have experienced over that time period .68% growth.”

The major capital projects are:

•          Clay Street Reconstruction

•          PD Radio Console upgrades

•          Lake Draw Down Projects

•          Uninterruptable Power Supply Replacement

•          Industrial Drive Watermain

•          Amphitheater Installation

•          Public Works Facility Study

•          Walworth Avenue/Court Street Inlet

The 2020 Budget Review timeline will go through until mid December. The next meeting will be held on Thursday October 10th at 5:30 p.m. and that will be with the Special Finance Committee to go in-depth with the 2020 budget.

The Palmyra-Eagle Area school district sent out a 2019 referendum and it did not pass. The referendum was to continue educating students while the district remains open, appropriate staffing levels and programs are maintained, completed repairs and general maintenance to the districts building and board and administration continue to work in cost mindful manner.

The referendum asks to exceed the limits by $1.75 million in the 2019-20 school year, $2.5 million in the 2020-21 school year, $3.25 million in the 2021-22 school year and $4 million in the 2022-23 school year.

The residents of Palmyra-Eagle have got enough signatures to force an advisory referendum on the school district. The Palmyra-Eagle Area School Board has voted on whether the school district should dissolve and the residents did too.

One way or another, the School District of Whitewater would be affected if the neighboring Palmyra-Eagle Area School District dissolves. Palmyra-Eagle has 381 elementary school students in two buildings in Palmyra and Eagle, 133 middle school students, 255 high school students and 15 open-enrollment applicants for the 2019-20 school year.

Whitewater board members acknowledged that the situation is complicated, but they said they want to start looking at how they can help some of the families who might be looking for a new district.

With the possibility of adding more students, additional state funding could make its way to the district.

For Superintendent Mark Elworthy, communication with area districts on what happens with the Palmyra-Eagle students will be key moving forward.

There is a Board Meeting coming up on Tuesday October 8th at 7:00 p.m. at the Palmyra-Eagle High School.

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