GL Council budget

Members of the Green Lake Common Council prepare to discuss the 2021 budget. 

The Green Lake Common Council held a special meeting Tuesday in which it discussed the 2021 budget and a host of other issues. 

Here are the top-four takeaways from the meeting: 

1. PRELIMINARY BUDGET CUTS NEEDED

After Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Ray Radis and the city’s department heads will work to cut $8,918 from the 2021 budget to keep Green Lake’s tax levy within state limits. 

During the meeting, the Common Council approved the city’s preliminary 2021 budget, after making several changes to cut expenses and better estimate revenues in an attempt to keep the tax levy within state limits.

Additionally, the city’s mill rate is set to go up roughly 2% to $5.54, meaning a homeowner with a $100,000 property value would pay roughly $11 more in property taxes, according to City Clerk Barb Dugenske.

“We try to manage the city budget to allow for inflation and manage spending to cover the increases in the costs that come every year,” Radis said in a written statement to The Commonwealth. “No one likes to see their taxes go up so we are very diligent on our spending, but want to remain progressive with our services to the city residents.”

Changes will be made in the coming weeks as the city works to finalize its 2021 budget leading up to a public hearing Monday, Nov. 9 at 5:30 p.m. 

“I will meet with each department head to review trailing years budgets versus actual spending,” Radis told The Commonwealth. “We will review each line item and see if we can reduce without affecting public safety and service.”

(Check back later for a more detailed story on the preliminary 2021 budget)

2. CITY HALL GYM CLOSED

The City Hall Gymnasium will be closed to all sports and rental groups, and will allow only municipal functions until further notice. 

The Green Lake Common Council voted 5-1 to close the gym, with Ald. Jim Jahnke voting against the proposal. 

“I think we should leave it open,” he said. “We should leave it up to the people if they want to use it.” 

Ald. Liane Walsh, meanwhile, was adamantly opposed to keeping the gym open. 

“To keep as many people out of [city hall] as possible, I think, is the best way to go,” she said.

3. SHORT-TERM RENTALS

Green Lake will form an eight person ad hoc committee on short-term rentals, composed of both renters and residents. 

Notable members to the committee include Jon McConnell, who will serve as chair, and Goose Blind owner Mary Rowley. 

Short-term rentals have been a point of contention at recent Common Council meetings as year-round residents have raised concerns about noisy parties, while rental owners have raised concerns about regulation.

4. WEDC GRANT

The Common Council voted unanimously to apply for a community development investment grant through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to help fund the Heidel House redevelopment.

Joe Schulz served as the reporter of the Green Laker in 2019 and 2020, before being hired as a reporter for the Commonwealth in October 2020. He is from Oshkosh and will be graduating from UW-Oshkosh with a degree in journalism in December.

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